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MELBOURNE, June 7 (Reuters) - Australia's biggest power producer, AGL Energy, said on Wednesday it would spend A$295 million ($222 million) to build a gas-fired power station to bolster the grid in the wind energy-dependent state of South Australia.
The new plant will provide back-up power in a state that has suffered a string of blackouts over the past year at times when wind power has eased, with limited access to gas- or coal-fired power.
AGL plans to build the 210 megawatt (MW) plant to replace two of the four turbines at its 50-year-old Torrens A gas-fired power station, which it plans to close in stages from July 2019.
The new Barker Inlet plant is expected to be able to reach full capacity within five minutes of starting up.
The plant would improve "reliability and security of supply in South Australia using modern, responsive technology that is more fuel efficient and less carbon intensive" than the Torrens A power station, Chief Executive Andy Vesey said in a statement.
$1 = 1.3314 Australian dollars Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Joseph Radford