Oral Presentation International Conference on River Connectivity (Fish Passage 2018)

Dorrigo Plateau Run-of-River proposed hydroelectric development (#198)

Peter Lynch 1
  1. Pelena Energy, Dorrigo, NSW, Australia

In 2015 the NSW Government funded the Dorrigo Chamber of Commerce to investigate the Run-of-River (RoR) hydroelectric potential & opportunities of the Dorrigo Plateau.  Dorrigo is unique in a number of ways: mean annual rainfall is almost 2000mm, all surface water that leaves the Plateau is via waterfalls, drier months result in significant irrigation extraction from streams, and there is a history of hydroelectric generation with the town being the first in Australia to be supplied electricity from a hydro in 1922. The 2015-16 study determined that the hydroelectric capacity of the Plateau exceeded the Plateau’s current demand for electricity.  In addition it was determined that significant RoR hydro resources exist in NSW on the wetter, eastern watershed of the Great Dividing Range. It was determined that 99.4% of NSW’s current hydroelectric systems operate from water storage dams and that only 8% of hydroelectric generation is on the wetter, eastern watershed of NSW. The Dorrigo community is working with businesses and agencies to develop methodologies to assess various hydroelectric technologies so that Dorrigo will be a leading hydro-hub resource centre for healthy-river hydro development. There are presently limited pathways in NSW for such development approvals; something this program aims to change.  This presentation will summarise activities to date and next stage plans for demonstration installations and studies.