Hydro Tasmania has closed its Poatina Power Station to begin replacing the failing original anti-corrosion coating inside the 46-year-old penstock.
The massive coatings removal and recoating project is needed to maintain the life and operability of the pipeline, officials said. The new coating will also reduce friction in the pipeline, improving the overall efficiency of the scheme and thereby increasing electricity generation.
The project will shut down the station for five months, and the penstock and tunnel will be drained, affecting flows downstream.
Outreach Minimizes Impact
The work follows two years of meetings, public information sessions, a newsletter and other outreach to hundreds of community residents and stakeholders—efforts that the village repaid with welcoming articles on its site. The project will affect area fish farming and agricultural industries.
|Project manager Oren Ellery (left) and village penstock coordinator Rohan Prowse are ready to start work in the Tasmanian village of Poatina.|
"The project is vital to the power station and the reliability and life of the pipeline in particular and needs to be done," project manager Tim Cubit said. "But we also recognized right from the start that there would be a significant impact on the local community as a result of shutting down the station for five months.”
The project will be done during the region’s winter months. Cubit said the company “wanted to get the timing right and minimize the impact wherever possible while getting this vital project completed.”
Scope of Work
The penstock refurbishment project will cost about $10.4 million US and employ up to 20 people. Significant maintenance and improvement work will also be carried out at the power station during the outage, bringing the overall cost of the project to more than $15.6 million.
The Poatina was fabricated in Italy and installed from 1957 to 1964. A 3.7-mile headrace and 3,051-foot lined tunnel diverts water from Great Lake into the penstock, which is more than a mile long and about 10 feet in diameter, delivering water to six machines in the underground Poatina Power Station.
| The village blog site welcomes the pipeline team with a photo.|
“The condition of the internal and external coating of the penstock has deteriorated to a point where work is required to ensure the long-term supply of water to the power station,” Hydro Tasmania reports.
Internal painting began April 1. The external coating project is scheduled to begin in 2014.
The work includes removal and disposal of the existing coal-tar enamel coating and replacing it with a new epoxy-based painting system.
“Additional risk mitigation works will be undertaken within the station to make best use of the outage,” the utility said without elaborating.
Project officials were not immediately available to provide additional project details.