Chichester Hydroelectric Project

Project Summary: Chichester Dam was built between 1915 and 1926 to supply water to the city of Newcastle and surrounding towns in NSW, Australia. The dam is a barrier to both the Chichester River and Wangat River with the majority of the catchment in the Barrington Tops National Park. In 1998 a new Water Management Licence came into effect (from the NSW Government) which required release of water to improve downstream river health. Delta Electricity, Jarara Energy and Hunter Water joined skills and resources to investigate using the release of ‘environmental flows’ to generate electricity at the foot of the dam. Pelena Energy won the tender to connect into the existing scour pipework and install a hydroelectric turbine and induction generator. Jarara Energy designed and installed the control system and electrical connection with Delta Electricity managing the overall project and Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Hunter Water provided local logistical support including arranging access to empty the scour pipe to allow connection of the turbine pipework.

The turbine is a standard 3-nozzle Pelena Crossflow turbine whereby two valves are operated in an on/off arrangement and the third nozzle has modulating control. The controlling set-point is a specific flowrate as required by the agreed environmental flow. The turbine is directly coupled to an 8-pole induction generator which is connected to the electricity grid. It typically rotates at approximately 755 RPM. This is faster than synchronous speed (750RPM) due to the nature of grid-connected induction generation.

The Chichester hydro turbine is an example of the versatility of the Pelena Crossflow Turbine.

Country: Australia

Location: Chichester, New South Wales

Commissioned: 12 December 2000

Turbine: Pelena three-nozzle Crossflow

Electrical Rating: 110kW

Turbine Supplier: Pelena Energy

Civil Works: Pelena Energy

Hydraulic Works: Pelena Energy

Controls: Client

Electrical Works: Client

Client: Delta Electricity