Australian Gas Light to develop 140-MW Bogong hydro

Australian Gas Light (AGL), which bought hydropower utility Southern Hydro in 2005, announced September 18 it plans to implement Southern’s plans to build the 140-MW Bogong hydroelectric project in Victoria State’s Kiewa River valley.

AGL said it awarded two major engineering-procurement-construction contracts for the A$230 million (US$173.6 million) project to McConnell Dowell Constructors (Australia) Pty Ltd. and Toshiba International Corp. Pty Ltd. The project is to be commissioned by October 2009.

The utility said the decision to proceed with Bogong follows the Victoria government’s recent announcement of a Renewable Energy Target Certificate program to commence in 2008. AGL said Bogong would increase the hydro proportion of its wholesale generation portfolio by 5 percent, meaning nearly half of its total portfolio will produce zero emissions.

“Bogong is one of the last opportunities anywhere in Australia to construct a large-scale fast-start, fully discretionary hydro peaking generation plant and will further cement AGL’s position as a market-leading integrated energy company,” AGL Chief Executive Paul Anthony said.

Bogong will be built at the base of Lake Guy, augmenting the existing Kiewa hydroelectric scheme, which includes the 150-MW McKay Creek, 29-MW Clover, and 62-MW West Kiewa projects. AGL said Bogong will make the Kiewa scheme a more efficient peaking operation by enabling McKay Creek to operate at its maximum capacity of 160 MW and enabling instantaneous water delivery to Clover.

The new plant also is designed to minimize current environmental effects of the operation of McKay Creek by returning the Pretty Valley branch of the East Kiewa River to natural water flows during normal operation. This is to be accomplished by construction of a 6.5-kilometer tunnel between McKay Creek and Bogong.

AGL commissions 12.2-MW Banimboola

AGL also announced the commissioning of another project begun by Southern Hydro, the 12.2-MW Banimboola project, not far from Bogong.

Banimboola is to optimize generation capabilities of Dartmouth Reservoir and provide additional generation during peak demand hours.

Southern originally contracted with Boulderstone Hornibrook and GE Hydro to build Banimboola on the Mitta Mitta River.

AGL said Bogong and Banimboola would be owned by the AGL Energy business to be created following the merger of AGL and Alinta Limited’s infrastructure businesses. Shareholders are to vote on the proposal in October.

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