Innovation and heritage feature in Lower Lake Margaret redevelopment

23 July 2010

The redeveloped Lower Lake Margaret power station near Queenstown was officially opened today by the Minister for Energy and Resources Bryan Green.

The innovative $13.2 million project involves the installation of a 3.2 megawatt mini hydro that will generate an additional 21 gigawatt hours of energy or enough to power around 2,200 homes.

The project follows the recent completion of the $14.7 million Upper Lake Margaret power station which began operating last year.
Hydro Tasmania Chairman, Dr David Crean, said the mini hydro was yet another milestone in the history of the Lake Margaret power scheme, which was originally commissioned in 1914 to deliver electricity for the Mt Lyell Copper Mine.
The Lower Lake Margaret power station is located near the original power station which was built in the 1930s and decommissioned in 1995 due to extensive corrosion of the wooden pipeline.

Dr Crean congratulated all those involved with the project, which is part of Hydro Tasmania’s effort to develop an additional 1000 gigawatt hours of energy from the existing power system.

"This is a truly innovative project that highlights how smart thinking can lead to solutions to challenging problems,” he said.

“The mini hydro will create additional renewable energy to feed into the state grid while at the same time protecting the heritage aspect of the site.

“The station has been constructed in a similar design to the original station using galvanised iron for the cladding and replacing the penstock with the same Alaskan Cedar as the upper station.

"The original pipeline haulage and winder have been left in place for heritage reasons while the historical bridge on the hilltop pipeline route at Leslie Creek has been refurbished and retained in use.

"Hydro Tasmania has also installed an elevated access platform to provide visitors with the opportunity to view both the new and old stations.

“I would like to thank all those involved in the project, including local businesses and contractors and the West Coast Community Liaison Group, for working together to make this redevelopment possible.”

The Lake Margaret precinct redevelopment and the nearby Red Hills diversion project have seen the creation of 83 megawatts of additional renewable energy.

Further Information:
Hydro Tasmania - Helen Brain, 6230 5746