Snowy’s highest power station to reach new heights


Snowy Hydro, working with Andritz Hydro, is about to commence detailed design work for the replacement of the generator in unit one at Guthega Power Station. After more than 60 years of reliable operation this is the first time any generator across the Snowy Scheme has needed to be replaced.

The generator is connected to the turbine and is the part of the machine that converts the power produced by the spinning turbine into electrical energy for consumers. This project is certainly not your average flat pack. The generator will be assembled from thousands of individual pieces and weighing in at 230 tonnes it will need specialised trucks and trailers to get it on site.

Paul Broad, CEO of Snowy Hydro said this $13 million replacement project was the latest example of the company’s strategic investment in the Snowy Scheme.

“It’s not just Guthega Power Station we’re investing in. We have a thorough asset maintenance and modernisation program that upgrades our power stations and the water infrastructure across the Snowy Scheme.

“We’ve undertaken asset improvements that have actually increased the Scheme’s total generation capacity”.

“We’ve also implemented new technologies that allow us to start our generators faster, respond more quickly to changing market conditions and run our power stations remotely through our central control centre”, Mr Broad said.

The new generator will have a higher design rating (40 megawatts) than the existing unit to match the previously upgraded turbine. Every generator across the Scheme can be used independently and therefore each unit wears differently and is replaced based on its condition rather than age.

After undertaking a competitive tender process Snowy Hydro appointed Andritz Hydro to undertake the design, fabrication, install and commissioning of the generator. Andritz Hydro is a global supplier of electromechanical systems and services for hydropower plants and hydraulic power generation. The detailed design process and unit fabrication is expected to take around 12 months.

The Guthega Power Station houses two 30MW hydro-electric generating units and was the first power station built with construction starting in 1951. It’s on the Snowy River, just 12 kilometres from the summit of Mount Kosciuszko and sitting at 1330 metres above sea level, it is the highest power station in the Snowy Scheme.

Media contact: Stephanie McKew – General Manager, Corporate Affairs & Media 0409 298 757


Asset Inspection & Maintenance


Snowy Hydro is again trialling the use of unmanned submersible vehicles to monitor the condition of hard to access Scheme assets.

While the Snowy Scheme is one of the civil engineering wonders of the modern world, many of its assets are difficult to reach due to the Snowy Mountains terrain and the challenges associated with the sheer volume of water flowing through the Scheme.

With the help of Perth-based company Synaya, the Civil Engineering and Dam Safety team are using a Mini Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to conduct inspections of some of our hard to access assets, such as the Guthega Surge Tank and Island Bend intake structure.

The ROV is a small, submersible vehicle operated from the surface of the water via a tether.  Equipped with miniature high-resolution cameras, lights and video recording equipment, they can be used to assess the condition of underwater civil assets.  The information they collect determines future inspection frequencies, maintenance requirements and accurate scoping of projects.

The Mini-ROV, a Seabotix LVB150 weighing approximately 12 kilograms, was used as part of a successful trial where a variety of tests were performed to assess its manoeuvrability, visibility and access.  Results showed that these observation vehicles reduce the safety risk to staff by eliminating the need for someone to physically enter tunnels for inspections, reduce the environmental impact associated with dewatering assets and they also reduce the need for extensive outage times.

It also provides access to extensive visual data, which can be referenced in the future to more accurately assess what stage of the asset’s lifecycle it’s in.

Using technology of this kind is not new for Snowy Hydro; in 2013, we used a larger unmanned underwater vehicle to inspect multiple tunnels within the Scheme for maintenance.  We were awarded an Australian Business Award for Innovation and also broke a world record for the longest, unmanned underwater tunnel inspection. We have also trialled the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to inspect our assets from the air.

In future, this unmanned technology will continue to be used to inspect difficult to access assets of the Scheme ensuring the safety of our people and keeping our assets in peak condition.