AGL commits $40 million to upgrade Victorian hydro scheme


Australia’s largest energy generator AGL Energy has committed to a significant upgrade of the 395 MW Kiewa Hydro Scheme in Victoria’s Alpine region, announcing on Monday it will invest $40 million to modernise and upgrade its ageing Clover hydro power plant.

The 29 MW Clover hydro station is one of four power plants that comprise the Kiewa Hydro Scheme which generates an average of 404 GWh of renewable electricity each year, providing “crucial support” to the electricity system.

AGL chief operating officer Markus Brokhof said the Clover Modernisation Project would see the output capacity of the Kiewa scheme increase by 14 MW, the equivalent of powering the entire Alpine region.

“By making this targeted investment, we are able to increase the efficiency of the station and broader scheme to deliver more reliable, clean energy,” he said.

The work to be undertaken includes the replacement of turbines, generators and inlet valves to increase the throughput at Clover from 120 megalitres per hour (ML/h) to 140 ML/h, in turn increasing the entire Kiewa scheme’s ability to run at capacity.

Brokhof said the investment would achieve a 7% increase in overall generation with no change to water storage levels.

“Clover is the oldest station in the Kiewa Scheme and was commissioned in 1945,” he said. “As some of the kit becomes outdated and inefficient, there are quick wins to be made in increasing generation capacity by replacing old components and systems.”

The design and fabrication works are expected to commence in the coming weeks with AGL anticipating the upgrade will be complete by 2026.

AGL’s hydroelectricity accounts for only about 2% of the Victoria’s overall power consumption, approximately 1280 MWh per annum, but Brokhof said it plays a key role, providing “crucial support to the electricity system in the event of peak demand periods or other generator outages”.

AGL said the Clover Modernisation Project builds on the $4.8 billion the company has invested over the past 20 years in renewable and firming generation and the more than 2.3 GW of new generation capacity it has added to the grid since 2003.

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