Dr Anthony Lynham


Somerset Dam fires up for renewable energy

Somerset Dam Hydro-Electric Plant

29 May, 2019 –

A major refurbishment of the Somerset Dam Hydro-Electric Plant has been completed and this month the plant started producing renewable energy.

The $11 million restoration of the Somerset plant has increased its capacity from 3.2 to 4.1 megawatts, adding to Queensland’s renewable energy generation as we head towards a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

Somerset Dam will remain one of the region’s major drinking water storages with the added benefit of being able to produce green energy for south east Queensland.

And there’s a possibility of more hydropower being produced by state dams: A study has been commissioned to assess the technical and economic feasibility of hydropower generation across all of our dams in south east Queensland.

This is about looking for renewable energy opportunities aimed at reducing operational costs and reducing the overall environmental footprint.

The study will examine sites for traditional hydro-electric plants at existing dams as well as the feasibility of larger pumped hydro storage.

Electricity is the largest single cost to the production of drinking water. Seqwater believes there are significant opportunities available to offset electricity costs by increasing its renewable energy generation and by optimising energy consumption.

Seqwater estimates up to 30-40 per cent of its annual energy consumption could be provided by renewable energy it generates over the next decade or so.

In turn this can help reduce the costs of water treatment and the supply of drinking water to businesses and households.

It also, conceivably, could put downward pressure on electricity prices as more and more renewable energy – solar and hydro – comes online.

The Palaszczuk Government has committed $863 million to water infrastructure since December 2017, creating 1643 jobs for Queenslanders.

We will continue to invest in water infrastructure that is economically and financially viable and provides value for money for Queenslanders.

Seqwater now produces hydro at Wivenhoe, Somerset and Hinze dams and the Landers Shute Water Treatment Plant (Montville).