New hydroelectricity plant opens at St Albans Reservoir

There is a new hydroelectricity plant operating at St Albans Reservoir. (Supplied)

A new 400 kilowatt hydroelectricity plant is powering Melbourne Water’s operations at St Albans Reservoir, which is said to help provide clean, low-cost energy and reduce cost of living pressures for Victorians.

The St Albans plant is Melbourne Water’s 16th hydroelectric infrastructure asset. It joins the recently completed 315kW Upper Yarra, Yarra Valley Conduit hydroelectricity plant. A 990kW hydropower plant at O’Shannassy Reservoir is about to begin construction and will be completed in 2025.

Melbourne Water technical specialist Ian Royston said the 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 55 megalitres per day, that’s equivalent to almost 23 Olympic-sized swimming pools and spins the turbine at about 1350 revolutions per minute,” he said.

Hydropower, or hydroelectric power, is one of the world’s oldest and largest forms of renewable energy.

Melbourne Water said it 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, this pressure is channelled through hydroelectric turbines.

The turbine blades rotate a shaft, which 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, helping to reduce operating and customer costs.