Australia utility to redevelop 8.5-MW Lake Margaret

The board of Australian utility Hydro Tasmania has approved redevelopment of the 8.5-MW Lake Margaret hydroelectric project, idled since 2006 by risk of a pipeline failure.

“We commend the commitment and enthusiasm of the West Coast Council and the Community Liaison Group in working with us as we investigated the feasibility of this project,” Hydro Tasmania Chief Executive Officer Vince Hawksworth said.

The utility is seeking planning and works approval of the West Coast Council and Tasmanian Heritage Council prior to naming contractors for the work. Subject to approvals, the redevelopment is expected to be complete in 2009 at a cost of A$14.7 million (US$14 million).

The Lake Margaret plant, built in 1914 on the King River, was closed in June 2006 as a result of concerns about the safety of its woodstave pipeline, which was at risk of failure.

The redevelopment is to include maintenance and upgrade of the dam, replacement of the woodstave pipeline, modification of a hilltop valve, reinstatement of a walking track and a haulage way, replacement of a transformer, construction of a visitor access gallery, and modifications to enable safe unattended project operation.

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