Wivenhoe Hydro Power Station set for $14m overhaul

Wivenhoe Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Station
Wivenhoe Power Station (Image: Shutterstock)

Queensland’s largest hydro power station, the state-owned Wivenhoe Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Station, is set for a $14 million overhaul with major maintenance work beginning this month.

Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said Wivenhoe was a vital part of Queensland’s electricity network and helped keep the state running when CS Energy’s coal-fired Callide Power Station went offline in May.

“All our publicly-owned energy generators have worked around the clock to respond to constraints in the network in these last few weeks,” Mr de Brenni said.

“When Callide C Power Station went offline in May, we were able to ramp Wivenhoe up to the point it was generating 530MW over a four-hour period, helping to meet demand and stabilise the network.

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“Never has it been more important to invest in fast ramping, flexible energy generation and storage solutions.”

Mr de Brenni said the upgrades were crucial to preserving the plant’s reliability in the future, and that the maintenance was expected to be finished by late October.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s record energy budget includes $2.38 billion in job-creating capital upgrades and maintenance of our publicly owned assets,” he said.

“This $14 million overhaul will include the repair and refurbishment of one of the 285-megawatt turbines, corrosion protection painting of machinery and pipes, and repairs to a transformer.

“Wivenhoe is the jewel in the crown of Queensland’s publicly-owned energy storage fleet and maintaining it will be critical to achieving our renewable energy target.

“That’s why we’ll continue to invest in Wivenhoe and progress plans for pumped hydro at Borumba Dam south of Gympie, with the budget providing $22 million for detailed design and cost analysis of that project.”

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Queensland Government-owned CleanCo took over operation of Wivenhoe Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Station in 2019.

“We must maintain our generating assets in line with this change in operations to ensure we can continue to meet our mandate to provide reliable, affordable energy for our customers and the Queensland community,” CEO Dr Maia Schweizer said.

“The recent incident at Callide Power Station highlighted the important role fast ramping and flexible generation assets like Wivenhoe Power Station play in supplying energy reliably for Queensland.

“The overhaul will support up to 100 jobs as a diversely skilled workforce is required to undertake these works which will involve working at heights and in confined spaces.

“Where possible, CleanCo is engaging local businesses to support the delivery of this important work.”