Reservoir near Melbourne
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The 400kW hydroelectricity plant at St Albans Reservoir is part of Melbourne Water’s efforts to reduce cost of living pressures for Victorians.

The St Albans plant is Melbourne Water’s 16th hydroelectric infrastructure asset, following construction of the 315kW Upper Yarra, Yarra Valley Conduit hydroelectricity plant. 

A 990kW hydropower plant at O’Shannassy Reservoir is expected to begin construction in 2024 with completion due in 2025. 

Melbourne Water Technical Specialist, Ian Royston, said, “Our hydroelectric power stations harness a natural, sustainable and reliable source of energy, rather than letting it go to waste. 

“Flow through the St Albans plant is 55ML per day, equivalent to almost 23 Olympic-sized swimming pools, and spins the turbine at about 1,350 revolutions per minute,” Mr Royston said. 

Hydropower, or hydroelectric power, is the world’s oldest form of renewable energy and the largest renewable source of electricity. Melbourne Water generates hydroelectricity throughout its water supply network, playing a role in helping to decarbonise the Victorian electricity grid. 

Using gravity, water moves from major storage reservoirs at higher ground to smaller, lower reservoirs. As water approaches through the pipelines, the pressure is channelled through hydroelectric turbines. 

The turbine blades rotate a shaft that drives an electrical generator, converting the motion into electricity. The electricity is used on site to power the reservoir’s operations and excess is fed back into the power grid, reducing operating and customer costs. 

Melbourne Water said it is continuing to take action on climate change to protect the natural resources that sustain its operations, and increasing renewable energy generation is a key priority to ensure that Melbourne remains a great place to live for generations to come.  

Melbourne Water said it will continue to reduce its emissions as much as possible, across every area of its business striving towards net zero.   

Image: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/gregbrave

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