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Alert: Following the earthquake on 22 September, Melbourne Water has enacted our rapid response and inspection program for all of our critical assets – including dams - across our areas of operation. Follow our updates.

We’re building a new mini-hydro electricity plant at our St Albans Reservoir site. The mini power station will convert energy from the pressure and flow of water going into the reservoir to generate electricity. This electricity will be fed back into the power grid and used to reduce our carbon footprint and operating costs.

Why this project is important

We’re taking action on climate change to continue providing safe and reliable water services to help enhance life and liveability, for all Melburnians, now and into the future. We have pledged to halve our carbon emissions by 2025 and we are on a path to reducing them to net zero by 2030.

Melbourne Water generates hydro-electricity throughout our water supply network, doing our bit to help to decarbonise the Victorian electricity grid. We currently have 14 mini-hydro power stations in operation at our water supply reservoirs, and we’ll be building three more between 2020 and 2022, including one at St Albans Reservoir which started in early October 2020.

The mini-hydro stations work by converting energy from the pressure and flow of water going into our water supply network to generate electricity. This electricity is then fed back into the power grid and used to reduce our operating costs. These small power stations harness a natural, sustainable and reliable source of energy, rather than letting this energy go to waste. 

What’s involved?

Blue generator inside a mini-hydroelectricity plant
Inside a mini-hydro power station

Construction of the mini-hydro power station at St Albans Reservoir will be completed in four stages: 

  1. The power generating component is constructed off-site, within a transportable building (about the size of a shipping container).
  2. A purpose-built concrete base and pipeline connections to the existing water supply pipes are constructed at the reservoir site.
  3. The transportable building is taken to site, placed on the concrete base and connected to the existing water and power supply infrastructure.
  4. After construction is complete, the new mini-hydro electricity plant will be tested and commissioned prior to becoming operational.

Timing

Stage 2 works started in late 2020 for the construction of a purpose-built concrete base and pipeline connections to the existing water supply pipes.

Unfortunately, works to complete the mini-hydro power station have been delayed. This is due to many factors outside our control including design complexities, unexpected conditions on site, and issues related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including interstate transit issues for specialist personnel and equipment.

The delivery of the transportable building to site and connection to power (Stage 3) will now occur by the end of October 2021.

Testing and commissioning of the new mini-hydro power station (Stage 4) is scheduled to take place before the end of June 2022.

Our standard hours of work are between 7am and 5pm Monday to Friday; however some works will be required on Saturdays between 7am and 1pm in line with EPA guidelines. Our workers may continue to be on site until 5pm for quiet work.

What to expect 

While we will make every effort to ensure inconveniences are kept to a minimum, we do anticipate that there will be some localised impacts during construction, including:

  • Noise from trucks and other vehicles, reversing beepers, machinery and other equipment.
  • Some minor earthworks, including removal of excess soil, which may cause some noise and dust. There may also be some dust as the concrete base is constructed.
  • An increase in vehicle movements off Taylors Road to access the works zone.

Once the mini-hydro power station is operational, it will be required to comply with strict noise control standards and EPA requirements.

All of our mini-hydro electricity plants are fully remote-controlled, operational from off site, and seamlessly integrated into Melbourne Water’s supply system to ensure uninterrupted operation.

Find out more

Learn more about hydropower generation and how it benefits Melbourne.

For more information about our projects and initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint and generate more renewable energy, visit Our Path to Net Zero page, or contact us.

Last updated:
8 September 2021