Guthega & Island Bend Dams & Any Other Snowy Hydro Stuff

skifree

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chrisj

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I've only skied all the Guthega runs once (so far), but I remember on one of the runs you get a nice glimpse of the dam on the way down. Can't remember which one though, Lindner?.
 
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warrie

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Pink snow makes it somewhat surreal. Water level about 0.5m over the flashboards and flow looks about 20 cumecs. Below the power station the kayakers will have 52 cumecs this afternoon. Down there on 19th for 70th anniversary of Snowy Scheme. Looks like enough snow for melt to continue till then... W
 

fats3112

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The "Darwin Award" issued on Sunday went to the muppet who decided that Guthega Dam would be good place to train for a cold water swim. He had a campsite set up a hundred metres past the dam's power station outlet structure, and support in the form of a buddy on a kayak, but he got a serious case of hypothermia and needed extraction and support from one of the club lodges.
 

skifree

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Can anyone tell me when was the last time the spillway was active or where such records maybe found?
 
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Tanuki

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The "Darwin Award" issued on Sunday went to the muppet who decided that Guthega Dam would be good place to train for a cold water swim. He had a campsite set up a hundred metres past the dam's power station outlet structure, and support in the form of a buddy on a kayak, but he got a serious case of hypothermia and needed extraction and support from one of the club lodges.
Seriously?
 

robbo mcs

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Really, don't know how I have missed that.

It's not like I don't do a bit out of Guthega late and at the end of the season.

As we were discussing today, I have never seen a picture of it spilling before, and never really heard much discussion about it. Kind of strange, because you think photos or talk about it would pop up on sites like this or social media. I guess people into white water activities would know all the info on it.
 
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nfip

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I know a couple of blokes that had there SUP's out on the pondage few years back.
Not during the melt tho.
Was in March .
and one of them went for a swim.
no hypothermia encountered. ;)
 
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warrie

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Just Google images of Guthega dam and plenty of pix of spill plus You tube. Just guessing that in 2 years of three it will spill. Oct. 2019 was a good snowfall year so it's spilling. 2006 was a dud so no spill. Unfortunately Snowy Hydro does not put up Guthega levels. The only way to get info is to go into the Cooma Discovery centre and look at the real time data display. Cabramurra and M2 PS visitor centre have one too. But then you need data on full supply levels to see if they are over.


Eucumbene - never spilled in 60 plus years since completion. Jindabyne last spill during controlled release last year and due again later this month. Tantangara last went over in 1992. Island Bend needs over 96 cumecs into it from Guthega PS and side creeks. Yesterday it had only 60 all diverted to Eucumbene so no spill. But it goes over every few wet years.
The 200mm rain event of late Feb 2012 gave spill at Guthega, Island Bend and Tooma plus lots of little side aqueduct small dams. So in most years the Scheme captures all the water and sends it into power stations and none is wasted by spilling. If it does on the Snowy it can be captured by Jindabyne and pumped back up at off peak rates.
This week last year the bypass at Jindy pumping station was going. You could hear the roar from the lookout at the surge tank. Might be worth a visit.................W
 

skifree

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Snowy Hydro were kind enough to get back to my query lodged with them via their website as follows.


Snowy Hydro maintain records dating back to before construction of the scheme commenced. It is common for Guthega Dam to spill in most years, often during the spring snowmelt season or during other large rainfall events. Rainfall in recent weeks, followed by some warm and windy weather has lead to significant snowmelt, and all that water has to go somewhere. This year we are upgrading Guthega Power Station (https://www.snowyhydro.com.au/news/snowys-highest-power-station-to-reach-new-heights/) so we can't get as much water out of the dam as we normally would. Once the dam's relatively small capacity is filled, any additional inflows will spill over the spillway. This water is still captured by the Snowy Scheme at Island Bend Dam, where it can be diverted to Eucumbene Dam for storage, or Geehi Dam to power the Murray 1 and Murray 2 Power Stations on it's way to the Murray River.


I would say the key bit of data here is the Guthega Power Station shutdown.
 

skifree

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Hydro turbines last forever.
There are a few in Victoria still happily humming away that were installed over 90 years ago.

So they have kept the turbine but replaced the genset?? I understand updates to gensets can better than double power output of some older units. At least that is what I was told when talking with hydro folks at Strathgordon where the first thing the new owners did after privatisation was replace the gensets. And install controls to run the place from anywhere and delete the need for any local control staff.
 
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skifree

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Now I think about there should be room for improvement in the turbine performance as well if the original is still in place. There has been a lot of development (think jet engine and turbos in cars for examples of this) in turbine technology since WW2.
 

Bogong

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So they have kept the turbine but replaced the genset?? I understand updates to gensets can better than double power output of some older units. At least that is what I was told when talking with hydro folks at Strathgordon where the first thing the new owners did after privatisation was replace the gensets. And install controls to run the place from anywhere and delete the need for any local control staff.
I'm talking about the turbines from the old Sugarloaf Dam (Eildon Mark 1) and the nearby Rubicon hydro scheme. (The Victorian one.) They came on line between 1926 and 1929 and were built to compliment each other as Rubicon has limited storage, so it would generate the most electricity in winter and spring, while Eildon-Sugarloaf would generate the most in summer and autumn when it released water for irrigation purposes.

There's an old Pelton wheel outside one of the Rubicon power stations, but I understand a few of the originals are still in use. After the original Sugarloaf-Eildon dam developed a wonky wall, it was rebuilt to a much larger capacity in the 1950s, new higher capacity turbines were installed and the original turbines were stored, as they weren't designed for the higher head of the new dam. However after privatisation in the 1990s, there was a major drought, so the old 1920s turbines were dusted off and installed to generate power from water releases when Eildon was less half full.
 

robbo mcs

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So they have kept the turbine but replaced the genset?? I understand updates to gensets can better than double power output of some older units. At least that is what I was told when talking with hydro folks at Strathgordon where the first thing the new owners did after privatisation was replace the gensets. And install controls to run the place from anywhere and delete the need for any local control staff.

The picture I saw of them dropping the new unit in place looked like a genset rather than a turbine, from memory. I can’t find it online though.
 
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skifree

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History in the making! After 64 years of reliable service, Unit 1 at Guthega Power Station - the first Snowy Scheme generator - is being replaced.

These images show the rotor being lowered into place in 1954 and then being removed recently, ahead of the unit's 2019 retirement.



From the link above.
 

warrie

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1955 Guthega turbines rated at 31.3MW to power 30 MW generators. Turbines upgraded to get 40MW from same amount of water as angle of blades altered thanks to computer simulations. So then new generators bolted on top and bingo, your 100 year old technology Guthega gets a 30% increase in output.
One old turbine at Snowy Museum at Adaminaby where it is mounted upside down and the other at Cooma HQ of Scheme next to an old 250 MW unit from Tumut 3 PS. New T3 units now 300MW. One by one new turbines being installed across the Snowy and supposedly they are almost 100% efficient at converting linear motion of water in penstocks to rotary motion so as to spin generators which also need an upgrade......W
 

GlenH

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I've only skied all the Guthega runs once (so far), but I remember on one of the runs you get a nice glimpse of the dam on the way down. Can't remember which one though, Lindner?.
On Norwegian Trail, just past the turn off to Home Trail.

It is compulsory to stop at that point and admire the beauty of the snow covered dam and frozen river behind. :)
 

skifree

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Storage is too small to justify. If dam on upper Spencers Creek (near Charlotte Pass) had been built, maybe another matter.

Still possible.

Just need to move Charlotte Pass, lets say to Kunama Bowl.
 

Fozzie Bear

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Yup.

I've skinned out there quite a few time from CP and it is not always rideable. Golden Eagle soon enough when conditions are right.
 
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Mr. Mook

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Still possible.

Just need to move Charlotte Pass, lets say to Kunama Bowl.
The dam proposal for Spencer's Creek was nixed when the area was protected by legislation in 1963.
I can't remember exactly what the wording is but basically the whole of the region above the junction of Spencer's and the Snowy River were given some kind of Alpine Heritage protection and nothing above that junction in either valley can be dammed.
 
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Bogong

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Hydro turbines last forever.
There are a few in Victoria still happily humming away that were installed over 90 years ago.
maybe not at dartmouth
Let me rephrase that.

Hydro turbines last forever, unless they have steel girders dropped 180 metres onto them while they're running at full speed.

Is that better? ;)
 

Jacko4650

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So the humming I hear at Island Bend camp ground during winter - is that likely to be the turbines generating power or pumps sending water over the hill into the Murray or Lake Ecumbene? Maps from Snowy Hydro say there is an Island Bend Pondage and Island Bend Dam. https://www.weekendnotes.com/snowy-hydro-discovery-centre/ Anyone know the difference - it all looks to be the same waterway to me on Google maps?
 

Legs Akimbo

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So the humming I hear at Island Bend camp ground during winter - is that likely to be the turbines generating power or pumps sending water over the hill into the Murray or Lake Ecumbene? Maps from Snowy Hydro say there is an Island Bend Pondage and Island Bend Dam. https://www.weekendnotes.com/snowy-hydro-discovery-centre/ Anyone know the difference - it all looks to be the same waterway to me on Google maps?
The dam is the thing that holds the water back. The pondage is the water.

The humming is the surges in the surge tanks trying to escape.
 

Bogong

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... Maps from Snowy Hydro say there is an Island Bend Pondage and Island Bend Dam. https://www.weekendnotes.com/snowy-hydro-discovery-centre/ Anyone know the difference - it all looks to be the same waterway to me on Google maps?
I only have a basic knowledge of Snowy Hydro, but I know heaps about hydro in Victoria. In that state the 'dam' is where the water is drawn from and the 'pondage' is where the water ends up after they have taken the electricity out of it. :confused:

I referred to the large Eildon Dam earlier, but below that dam there is the small Eildon Pondage. Pondages are essentially river flow control thingys. Put simply, they only run water through the hydro turbines for a few hours a day when they can sell the electricity for the highest price. This is often in the late afternoon when industry, offices and homes all want lots of power.

But if they released the water directly into the river downstream, it would cause flood surges at some times of the day and at other times there would be almost no water flowing. So these regulating pondages store all the water that is run through the turbines during the peak demand for electricity and release it into a river in an even flow over 24 hours.
 

currawong

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I only have a basic knowledge of Snowy Hydro, but I know heaps about hydro in Victoria. In that state the 'dam' is where the water is drawn from and the 'pondage' is where the water ends up after they have taken the electricity out of it. :confused:

I referred to the large Eildon Dam earlier, but below that dam there is the small Eildon Pondage. Pondages are essentially river flow control thingys. Put simply, they only run water through the hydro turbines for a few hours a day when they can sell the electricity for the highest price. This is often in the late afternoon when industry, offices and homes all want lots of power.

But if they released the water directly into the river downstream, it would cause flood surges at some times of the day and at other times there would be almost no water flowing. So these regulating pondages store all the water that is run through the turbines during the peak demand for electricity and release it into a river in an even flow over 24 hours.
of course in some cases one reservoir can perform both functions, eg lake guy at bogong village collects water from McKay and Bogong power stations, ready to be used later at Clover power station
 

robbo mcs

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So the humming I hear at Island Bend camp ground during winter - is that likely to be the turbines generating power or pumps sending water over the hill into the Murray or Lake Ecumbene? Maps from Snowy Hydro say there is an Island Bend Pondage and Island Bend Dam. https://www.weekendnotes.com/snowy-hydro-discovery-centre/ Anyone know the difference - it all looks to be the same waterway to me on Google maps?

At the discovery centre in Cooma they have a fantastic schematic display of the whole scheme. It shows in real time current flows and storages at all sites, and current hydro generation at all sites. Also shows current spot marked electricity prices in all markets. It doesn’t seem to be available online. However, it makes fascinating viewing.
 

robbo mcs

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At the discovery centre in Cooma they have a fantastic schematic display of the whole scheme. It shows in real time current flows and storages at all sites, and current hydro generation at all sites. Also shows current spot marked electricity prices in all markets. It doesn’t seem to be available online. However, it makes fascinating viewing.

I remembered that years ago I took a phone shot of the display. Unfortunately the photo is crap and you can’t read anything ... but you get the general idea
E0C3AC21-8A5E-4740-9DCF-915696E25CA0.jpeg
 
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