Rubicon Hydroelectric Scheme, Victoria (Australia)

Rubicon Hydroelectric Scheme, Victoria

The Rubicon Hydroelectric Scheme is located on the Rubicon River and Royston Rivers, north east of Melbourne, 40 km south-west of Alexandra, Victoria, Australia. The Scheme commenced in 1922, and was the first state-owned hydroelectric scheme to generate electricity in mainland Australia, and among the first in the world to be remotely controlled. For the first ten years of its operation it supplied on average 16.9% of electricity generated by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. The Scheme is on the Victorian Heritage Register, and the Register of the National Estate and continues to operate under the management of AGL Energy.

History

In the 1920s the State Electricity Commission of Victoria was investigating hydroelectric power generation, in parallel with their works on brown coal fired power stations at Yallourn. In 1922 a report was delivered by Messrs J.M. and H.E. Coane relating to the development of hydro-electric power on the Goulburn River and the Cerberean Range, which was then in turn submitted to the Parliament of Victoria, with the project approved in 1922.

Known as the Sugarloaf - Rubicon Project, the proposed plan involved five power stations, with of turbine capacity, the largest power station on the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission storage Sugarloaf reservoir at what is now Lake Eildon, and four others, two on the Rubicon, one on the Royston, and a third on Snob's Creek. These plans were later altered, the Snob's Creek station deleted, and an additional station provided at Rubicon Falls, bringing the installed turbine capacity to over . The Sugarloaf Power Station was used during the irrigation season from October to April, when water released from this dam could be used for power generation. The other four stations were used during the rainy seasons of winter and spring.

Work started in 1922, and by 1928 the mountain stream section of the project was complete, the Sugarloaf power station on the Eildon following in 1929. Rubicon 'A' power station had a pipeline with a drop over its length. This station also remotely controlled the other power stations in the project. Minor enlargements were carried out at one station in 1954-55.

Today

The Rubicon Hydroelectric Scheme originally consisted of five power stations. Sugarloaf Power Station on the Goulburn River was replaced by the larger Eildon Power Station, and dam at the same site in the 1950s, with the turbines upgraded and reused. Today the scheme consists of three run-of-river dams, four power stations and associated raceways and penstocks. The total generating capacity of the scheme is a little over 25 MW, and the output averages approximately 13MW during winter months.

  • Royston Power Station - 0.8 MW
  • Rubicon Power Station - 9.2 MW
  • Lower Rubicon Power Station - 2.7 MW
  • Rubicon Falls Power Station - 0.3 MW
  • Sugarloaf Power Station - 13.5 MW (removed)

References

External links

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