AGL Hydro was established as a result of the disaggregation of the former State Electricity Commission of Victoria. AGL operates hydroelectric power stations in Victoria and NSW, with the three primary schemes located in the Kiewa, Dartmouth and Eildon catchments.
AGL Hydro's main business is the generation of electricity to meet intermediate and peak customer demand, which is sold via AEMO.
It supplies on a long-term average, approximately 1280 Mwhr pa, or about 2% of the electrical energy consumed in Victoria. Despite 2% representing only a small proportion of total customer requirements, its capacity to respond to rapid changes in customer demand and support the electricity system in the event of other generator plant failures, is extremely valuable.
Each of AGL's generating schemes are located on different river catchments, enabling AGL to maintain operational flexibility in order to maintain its customer commitments at any given time. Control of all generating plants is from a central facility situated at Mt Beauty, utilising a range of technology to enable AGL to quickly respond to changes in customer and electricity system requirements.
|AGL's main hydroelectric schemes||Total capacity||Average* annual output|
|Kiewa Scheme (Vic)
Comprising McKay Creek, Bogong, Clover, and West Kiewa Power Stations
|Dartmouth Power Station (Vic)||180 MW||
|Eildon Power Station (Vic)
|AGL's minor hydroelectric schemes||Total capacity||Average* annual output|
|Copeton Power Station (NSW)
|The Rubicon Scheme (Vic)
|Banimboola Power Station (Vic)
|Yarrowonga Power Station (Vic)||9.5 MW||
|Pindari Power Station (NSW)||5.7 MW||
|Burrendong Power Station (NSW)
|Glenbawn Power Station (NSW)||5.5 MW||
|Cairn Curran Power Station (Vic)
*Average annual output is based on each station’s commissioning date.
Located in the Australian Alps in north-eastern Victoria, about 350km from Melbourne, the Kiewa Hydroelectric Scheme is the largest in the State. It has been developed solely for power generation, with four power stations with a total capacity of 391MW and an average annual electricity output of 404 GWh. The scheme diverts and harnesses the Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley branches of the East Kiewa River, which rises on the Bogong High Plains, and the West Kiewa River, which rises near Mount Hotham.
Built in conjunction with the Dartmouth Dam on the Mitta Mitta River in north-eastern Victoria in the 1970s, the Dartmouth Hydroelectric Power Station is the largest single hydro generator in Victoria. It has a capacity of 180MW. As at Eildon, AGL has an entitlement to draw a certain quantity of water each year to generate electricity at any time to meet electricity demands. Average annual electricity output from Dartmouth is 217 GWh, but is subject to wide variation due to seasonal variations.
The Eildon Power Station operates two 60MW generators, one installed in 1956 and the other in 1957, together with two 7MW machines transferred from the old Sugarloaf Power Station. The station operates mainly during summer when irrigation water is released, but there is provision for limited output in Winter. AGL can draw an agreed amount of water from the reservoir each year to generate electricity at any time of the year to meet electricity demands. The limited quantity of water available under this special arrangement is not sufficient for sustained generation but it is very useful in helping to meet the short-lived peaks in electricity demand. The average annual output at Eildon Power Station is about 184 GWh.
Copeton is AGL's largest hydroelectric power station in NSW. Construction of the station was completed in October 1996. The station is located 340 metres downstream from the Copeton Dam on the 400 km long Gwydir River and below the Gwydir's junction with Copes Creek. The Copeton Dam has a storage capacity of around 1,364 GL and experiences variable water flow. Similarly to the Burrendong Dam, the primary purpose of the Copeton Dam is to supply irrigation for farming, domestic and industrial needs. The dam's secondary purpose is to provide a measure of flood mitigation. Dam releases required by State Water are made to assist in wildlife conservation in downstream areas, especially in the lower reaches known as the Watercourse country.
The station has two Kvaerner turbines, each with a rated capacity of 11.25MW, giving a total generating capacity of 22.5 MW.
The Rubicon Hydroelectric Scheme comprises a group of four small power stations; Royston (0.9 MW), Rubicon (9.6 MW), Lower Rubicon (2.7 MW) and Rubicon Falls (0.3 MW). Rubicon is a small run-of-river scheme with little regulation capability. The Rubicon scheme was commissioned in the 1920s and is heritage listed. The stations built in the 1920s are still operating and, because of their low operating costs and environmentally friendly operation, they will continue to play an important role in both the generation of electricity and in the protection of our environment.
Banimboola is a 12.2 MW power station, operating since 2005 and located downstream of the existing Lake Banimboola dam, commonly called the Dartmouth regulating pondage. The station is located on the left bank of the regulation pondage dam wall. The Banimboola Power Station incorporates three generating units comprising two 5 MW units and one 2.2 MW unit. The General Electric turbines are horizontal s-type tubular turbines. Connection into the transmission system for the station is via the existing main Dartmouth Power Station.
Yarrawonga Power Station is adjacent to the original weir structure on Lake Mulwala, on the Murray River, on the south side of the Victorian/NSW border. Yarrawonga Power Station was completed in 1994 and is a run-of-river scheme using a Kaplan-type turbine. The station has two ESAC variable pitch Kaplan turbo-alternators, each with a capacity of 4.75 MW, and feeds power into the Victorian transmission grid at a voltage of 22 kV. Despite the power station's presence, Lake Mulwala is kept at a reasonably constant level for recreational purposes. Changes in the head are driven by changes in the height of the Murray River. These changes are directly related to precipitation in the catchment areas and water releases from the Hume Dam.
Upstream storage control at Lake Hume and Dartmouth allows consistent storage levels at Lake Mulwala. This permits Yarrawonga Power Station to be a relatively consistent power producer.
Pindari Hydroelectric Power Station was commissioned in April 2002, and is located on the Pindari Dam, near Inverell, on the Severn River in northern NSW. The station comprises two horizontal Francis turbines and has a capacity of 5.7 MW. Pindari Power Station typically generates on summer irrigation and flood mitigation flows.
Burrendong Power Station was commissioned in August 1996 and is located at the foot of the Burrendong Dam, on the 950 kilometre long Macquarie River, below its junction with the Cudgegong River, near Dubbo in central NSW. Burrendong Dam was completed in 1967 and has a storage capacity of around 1,190 GL. Water flow from this dam is variable and is used for farming irrigation and flood mitigation in addition to power generation.
The station has a total generating capacity of 19 MW, comprising two Kvaerner turbines, each with a rated capacity of 9.5 MW. Burrendong generates on summer irrigation and flood mitigation flows. AGL has a lease for the site for 30 years from November 1996, with three 10-year extension options.
Glenbawn Power Station was completed in September 1995 and is located within the Glenbawn Dam wall structure on the Hunter River, 13 kilometres upstream from its junction with the Pages River. The site is east of the Great Dividing Range and about 15 kilometres south-east of Scone in NSW. Glenbawn power station typically generates on summer irrigation and flood mitigation flows.
Glenbawn Dam's storage capacity is approximately 750 GL. The dam has only relatively small demands from other uses, enabling water releases for the power station on a regular basis. The station has a maximum generation capacity of 5.5 MW, consisting of two 2.75 MW turbines.
The Cairn Curran Scheme is a 2 MW irrigation-based power station built in 1960 at the Cairn Curran Reservoir on the Loddon River, near Castlemaine, Victoria.
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