Federal Court rules about Callide C – independent investigation authorised

Thanks to Nick Evans at the Australian who’s alerted me to that the Federal Court has ruled in relation to docket number QUD541/2023 relating to Callide C4 and Callide C3 failures.

Nick and Angelica Snowden have already posted an article ‘Federal Court authorises special investigation into catastrophic explosion at Callide C station’ … but given the recency of the news I would not be surprised if the article in the Australian continues to evolve:


Well worth a read, for those who can access.


(A)  Key points of background

There’s probably five points that sum up the situation, at a very high level:

Headline 1)  The Callide C4 unit has been offline since 25th May 2021 following a major explosion in the turbine hall:

…  In other articles I have wondered if this would be the ‘longest outage in the history of the NEM’, but have not had time to definitively check

Headline 2)  The root cause of the explosion is still not publicly known.

(a)  Many months ago Dr Sean Brady was commissioned by CS Energy (50% owner of the Callide C station) to conduct an investigation and report back

(b)  But this report has not been publicly released – and, as far as I have seen, there’s been nothing formally announced as to the status of the report

Headline 3)  The sister unit, Callide C3, has been offline since 31st October 2022 when the cooling tower structure (which also supports Callide C4) collapsed.  This has since been rebuilt.

Headline 4)  The coincident calamity affecting both units forced the other 50% owner (IG Power Callide (IGPC)) into voluntary administration on 24th March 2023.

Headline 5)  The partial shareholder in IGPC, Sev.en Global Investments (7GI) initiated the Federal Court action in December 2023, as noted by Nick Evans at the time (and hence via WattClarity 30th Dec 2023).


(B)  Information from the Federal Court

Returning to the Federal Court website (docket number QUD541/2023) this evening we see the ‘Orders’ page has been updated:


… and in particular the Order (as highlighted above) opens here:


… with the key part (on quick scan, and with the big caveat that I am not a lawyer) seems to be as follows:

‘2. Pursuant to s 447A of the Act, John Richard Park and Benjamin Peter Campbell of FTI Consulting be appointed as additional administrators of the first defendant (the Special Purpose Administrators).

3. Pursuant to s 447A of the Act, the Special Purpose Administrators appointed under Order 2 be empowered to carry out the functions specified in Annexure A to these Orders. ’

… which leads to Annexure A:

‘1. Conduct investigations into the cause or causes of the two catastrophic incidents at the Callide C power station, specifically, the explosion of the unit C4 turbine on 25 May 2021 and the partial collapse of the unit C3 cooling tower on or around 31 October 2022 (the Incidents), and any claims available to the first defendant against any party arising out of, relating to or in any way connected with the Incidents’

… with my emphasis added.



(C)  Anything from key stakeholders?

As I hit ‘publish’ on this article (20:15 on Mon 29th Jan 2024) I have not seen any recent relevant updates from various stakeholders.

(C1)  At CS Energy

I could not see anything on the news section of the CS Energy website … nor did I see any updates here on the company profile LinkedIn.

(C2)  At Sev.en Global Investments

I also did not see anything under ‘Press Releases’ or ‘News Highlights’ on the 7GI website.


(D)  Information elsewhere

In terms of other media outlets…

(D1)  At AFR

On Monday evening, Primrose Riordam wrote ‘Czech coal baron wins special investigation into Callide C failures’:


(D2)  On the ABC

On Monday evening, Jasmine Hines wrote ‘Federal Court orders fresh investigation into explosion at central Queensland’s Callide C power station’:


(D3)  Elsewhere?

I have not yet seen anything else…


(E)  Latest information on return-to-service expectations

On 15th January 2024 we wrote about how ‘Hot & Wet Weather pushes back expected return to service dates for Callide C3 and Callide C4’:


Checking again in the ‘Generator Outages’ widget in ez2view, we see that there’s been no further change, since then, of expected return to service:


With respect to the image:

(E1)  Callide C3

This unit has been offline since 31st October 2022 (cooling tower), and the expectations for Unit 3 are as follows:

(a)  On 29 Feb 2024 (back to 200 MW)

(b)  On 31 March 2024 (back to 466 MW)

(E2)  Callide C4

This unit has been offline since 25th May 2021 (explosion), and the expectations for Unit 3 are as follows:

(a)  On 30 June 2024 (up to 210 MW)

(b)  On 31 July 2024 (back to 420 MW)

(E3)  Unit State

For those not familiar with the software, the change from grey cells to red cells recently is related to a change made  in the ‘Unit Status’ by CS Energy in submission to AEMO about the outages.


PS1 on Tue 30th Jan – the Judgment of the Federal Court available

One of our keen readers has helped me out by:

1)  Firstly, understanding better the difference between an Order (noting what is to happen next) and a Judgment (noting the reasons for the Order); plus also

2)  Highlighting that the Judgment is available online here:


A bit more reading there, for interested parties…

About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of Global-Roam back in 2000, Paul has been CEO of the company since that time. As an author on WattClarity, Paul's focus has been to help make the electricity market more understandable.

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