Upgrade work is set to begin at Snowy Hydro’s Guthega station, with Andritz Hydro designing and replacing a generator unit at the multi-powerhouse complex’s oldest facility.
The US$13 million project will have a 40 MW design rating, matching one of Guthega’s two turbine units that were previously replaced.
Guthega, located at 1,330 meters above sea level near the summit of Mount Kosciuszko, presents Andritz with some challenges given the topography surrounding it. As such, plant owner Snowy Hydro said the new generator will be assembled from thousands of individual pieces trucked into the site using specialized equipment.
The work is part of Snowy Mountain‘s continuing efforts to provide upgrades across the project, which also includes the 80-MW Blowering, 950-MW Murray, 1,550-MW Murray 2, 329.6-MW Tumut 1, 286.4-MW Tumut 2, and 1,500-MW Tumut 3, as well as the 1.1-MW Jindabyne Mini and 14.4-MW Jounama Small hydro stations. The scheme also has one pumping station at Jindabyne and a pumped-storage facility at the Tumut 3 station.
“It’s not just the Guthega Power Station we’re investing in,” Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad said. “We have a thorough asset maintenance and modernization program that upgrades our power stations and the water infrastructure across the Snowy Scheme.”
Broad said the upgrade program will “allow us to start our generators faster, respond more quickly to changing market conditions and run our power stations remotely through our central control center.”
Room for growth
When construction began on Guthega in 1951, it ushered in a new era for Australia’s power market. Now, however, the country is looking to further expand the 3,756 MW scheme’s capacity through a project being called Snowy Hydro 2.0.
The upgrade is a cornerstone of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s energy policy and would increase the output capacity by about 50%.
Technical and commercial feasibility studies are currently under way and expected to be completed by the end of the year, at which point they will be presented to the Snowy Hydro board.
The company will then decide whether it will undertake the $1.6 billion expansion, though it has previously said work could begin almost immediately after a decision is made.