How does hydro work?
Hydroelectricity harnesses the power of flowing water and uses it to create electricity. The water turns a turbine as it falls through, which drives a generator, producing electricity. In many cases, the water sources are dammed to create a reservoir, which allows further control over the output of the hydro station.
A pumped hydro plant works much like a conventional hydroelectric station, except that the turbine can also act as a pump, moving water back uphill. During times of low electricity prices such as the middle of the day when the sun is shining or times of low electricity demand, such as at night or on weekends, cheap electricity is used to pump water to an upper reservoir.
During periods of higher demand or when network services are required water is released from the upper reservoir to generate electricity. The same water can be used over and over again.
AGL’s hydroelectricity portfolio
AGL Hydro’s three primary hydro schemes are in the Kiewa, Dartmouth and Eildon catchments in Victoria, with minor schemes located across New South Wales and elsewhere in Victoria.
Additionally, we are currently undertaking feasibility studies on two 250 MW pumped hydro schemes, in Kanmantoo in South Australia, and Bells Mountain in New South Wales.
Each of our generating schemes are located on different river catchments, maximising operational flexibility. Control of all generating plants is done from a central facility at AGL’s Bourke Street office in Melbourne, enabling us to rapidly respond to changing demand.
Below is a snapshot of AGL’s hydro assets.