Wivenhoe Power Station
Wivenhoe Power Station

Australia’s largest hydro machines set for overhaul

WORK has begun on a $13.5 million upgrade to Queensland's only pumped storage hydroelectric plant - Wivenhoe Power Station.

The 500 megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric station, near Esk in south-east Queensland will undergo the major tune-up over the next few months to keep it operating in peak condition into the future.

Wivenhoe Power Station consists of two 250 megawatt units that are the largest hydro machines in Australia, which each have almost 1,500 tonnes spinning when in operation.

Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark Bailey said CS Energy would be carrying out the overhaul on one of the two generating units which is located on the eastern side of Wivenhoe Dam.

"The upcoming overhaul will have a peak workforce of 100 people on site, which comprises Wivenhoe's permanent workforce of 11 and approximately 90 contractors," he said.

"This work will also provide a flow-on of economic benefits to accommodation, services and other businesses in the local communities surrounding the power station."

Mr Bailey said Wivenhoe Power Station had provided quick-start capacity to the national electricity grid since 1984 and had an expected life of 100 years.

"Wivenhoe Power Station stores and generates electricity by recycling water between an upper and lower reservoir," he said.

"The power station is able to store energy by holding water in the upper reservoir until it is needed to generate electricity.

"During high demand periods, the stored water is released through tunnels to drive the turbines and generators.

"Wivenhoe's upper reservoir Splityard Creek Dam has a capacity of 23,300 megalitres, which is enough to run the power station for up to 10 hours at full load."

Mr Bailey said he was impressed with its energy storage capabilities and water efficiency.

"Wivenhoe is very water efficient because it recycles water, compared to conventional hydroelectric power stations, which rely on water released from dams or rivers," he said.

The major overhaul contractors are Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Crown Engineering, McElligotts Painting and Berg Engineering.

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