Plans are underway to upgrade Barron Gorge hydro power station through a $1 million five-year maintenance program.
Built in 1963 with a maximum capacity of 66 megawatts, the Barron Gorge hydro power station is one of Queensland’s oldest renewable energy facilities.
Queensland Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, said the upgrades would ensure clean and reliable energy for Queensland’s far north for many years to come.
“This is going to be a tough job for the Cairns-based contractors, inspecting, cleaning and repairing the pipe that feeds water from the Barron River into the power station,” said Pitt.
“The pipe is known as the penstock and cleaning the inside of the two kilometres of pitch black, wet pipework is certainly not a task for anyone who suffers claustrophobia.”
Previously the Queensland government spent $28 million in 2011 to refurbish the hydro power station, which predicts to have extended the power station’s life by 40 years.
Member for Barron River, Craig Crawford, said maintenance works were required in the generator hall where the station’s two turbines are located.
“Barron Gorge Hydro was around long before anyone had thought of solar panels or windfarms so it’s an historical source of green energy,” Crawford said.
“Electricity is generated by using water from the Barron River to turn turbines, so it fits in well with the strong environmental values of the tropical north to have this great renewable energy source operating to its full potential.”
At full capacity the power station can provide power for roughly 60,000 homes, already powering much of the far north Queensland grid.
The Queensland government has ensured that the project will be undertaken with strict safety standards in mind.
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