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Somerset Dam set for $11 million rebuild

SOMERSET Dam's hydro-electric plant is set to undergo a major refurbishment that will increase its capacity to provide renewable energy.

Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark Bailey said once ready, the plant would generate electricity from the regulated flow of water from Somerset into Wivenhoe Dam.

The plant first came online in 1954, but has not been operational since the 2011 floods.

Mr Bailey said the floods triggered a comprehensive study to see if a rebuild was feasible.

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

"The plant will be restored to virtually as-new condition, including automatic control with remote interface," he said.

"Key innovations have been provided through the use of 3D Computational Fluid Dynamics to maximise power output and efficiency gains from the refurbished plant.

"This means a far more effective and efficient plant."

The work will cost $11.6 million, but will increase the plant's capacity from 3.2 to 4.1 megawatts.

"Hydro-electricity is the second largest source of large-scale renewable energy in Queensland, with over 200 megawatts of installed capacity," Mr Bailey said.

"Hydro-electric generators provide a reliable source of power that can be dispatched when required.

"Somerset Dam will remain one of the region's major drinking water storages with the added benefit of being able to produce green energy for South East Queensland."

Acting Seqwater CEO Jim Pruss said the plant would be able to operate up to 24 hours a day as required.

"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 refurbished plant is expected to be operational in the first half of 2017.

For more information visit www.seqwater.com.au

Topics:  refurbishment renewable energy somerset dam


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