The major element of $15M of investment at the station over the past five months was to replace the internal coating of the 1700m long penstock in order to maintain the life of this asset and the operation of one Tasmania’s most important power stations. This project was carried out in partnership with specialist coatings contractor TBS.

Poatina power station has now resumed operation. Andrew Hickman, Manager Program Delivery, said: “After over 45 years of operation, the condition of the coating had deteriorated to a point where it was no longer providing the requisite corrosion protection. This refurbishment is a preventative measure to ensure the ongoing supply of water to Hydro Tasmania’s second biggest power station.”

The project was technically challenging due to the steep incline of much of the penstock, the application of coatings in cold conditions and the environmentally responsible handling of the waste product from the removal of the original coating.

The practicality of shutting this station down for an extended period saw two years of community consultation to understand and minimise the impacts to downstream water users that include crop production, fish farming and town water supply.

“By completing the project in the winter months the impacts on downstream users were substantially reduced,” Hickman said. “This added to the complexity of the project to ensure acceptable steel temperature and humidity levels for paint application, but through our work together with contractor TBS, these challenges were overcome and the station returned to service by the end of August as per our commitment to our downstream stakeholders.”

The successful completion of this project contributes to the integrity of Tasmania’s renewable energy assets and water supply to irrigators and other industry downstream of Poatina power station.