Somerset hydro-electric revived

The Somerset hydro-electric plant in south-east Queensland will undergo a $11.6 million restoration, bringing it back to life after being inundated in the 2011 floods.

Minister for Energy and Water Mark Bailey said when finished, the refurbished plant would generate energy from the regulated flow of water from Somerset Dam to Wivenhoe dam.

“The plant, which first generated power in 1954, has not been operational since it was inundated by the January 2011 floods,” Mr Bailey said.

“A comprehensive study was undertaken post-flood which identified a rebuild of the plant as the best option for its future.”

Mr Bailey said hydro-electricity is the second largest source of large-scale renewable energy in Queensland which could be despatched as required.

Acting Seqwater chief executive officer Jim Pruss said the plant could be operational up to 24 hours a day.

“The operation of the plant will be based on dam levels, rainfall and potential inflows into the dams which Seqwater closely monitors,” Mr Pruss said.

“The original turbine casing that was installed in 1954 will be retained within the refurbished plant.

“The refurbishment works will include the redesign of the original turbine for increased output and efficiency, and installation of a new generator and control system to provide reliability and remote operation.

The refurbishment is expected to be completed by mid-2017.