A smart data solution to enhance hydropower operations

Client: Hydro Tasmania
Location: Great Western Tiers, Tasmania, Australia
Date: November 2011 – ongoing

Gathering reliable data on water levels and pump status to maximise cost-effective and safe hydropower generation.

Background

The Brumbys and Westons diversions are located on the Great Western Tiers at the north-eastern edge of the Central Plateau of Tasmania, Australia. They take water from upper Brumbys Creek and Westons Rivulet into Great Lake. This water is used to generate electricity at Poatina power station.

Harvesting the maximum amount of water possible to ensure optimum earning potential for the client required a data solution providing information on the pond level as well as ensuring the effective operation of the important site pump. Because the Westons Rivulet site is remote and experiences severe wind and snow storms that affect the power supply to the pump station, pumps could be out of action for weeks before detection and repair, compromising hydro generation as well as the safety of downstream communities.

Solution

The infrastructure for the diversions comprises two small weirs, two small canals and a pumping station at the Westons Rivulet diversion. This pump is controlled by a local programmable logic controller (PLC) that monitors the pond level of the weir and controls the on/off actions of the pump. An Ajenti telemetry unit (ATU) was installed in the pump house and was used to monitor and report the water level in the diversion weir pond, the voltage levels of the PLC unit’s battery, and urgent and non-urgent alarm states that output from the PLC unit.

A dashboard, available via the internet on any smart device, provides a summary of the alarm states, a graphical display of the pond level, and the last three days of temperature and rainfall readings at the nearest weather station (in this instance, Liawenee). It also offers a summary of the amount of time the site has been pumping water, water that has been spilt over the weir and the amount of time used in recharging the pond level.

Outcome

Entura’s Ajenti solution has ensured reliable and effective operation of the pumping station, which means that the maximum amount of water can be harvested to enable optimum electricity production and earning potential. Accurate information on water levels and safe and reliable operation of the pump also protect downstream communities from flooding.

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