Mini-Hydro station at Ellendale

PREMIER David Bartlett today officially opened the latest addition to Tasmania’s renewable energy sources – the Platypus Mini-Hydro Power Station at Ellendale. The station not only generates renewable energy for the township, but the developer plans to open it as a local tourist attraction. “This is a fantastic example of innovative thinking, and a truly sustainable project the local community can be proud of,” Mr Bartlett said.

The station was designed and built by former Hydro engineer Nigel Tomlin – an Ellendale farmer whose property borders the Jones River. The turbine and generator are housed in a small stone cottage, and water is fed along a 500-metre pipeline. Building the station at the head of a stream removes the need for a dam and large scale equipment.

In winter, the plant will supply totally renewable energy to most of the town, and save 75-tonnes of carbon emissions, compared to conventional coal-fired power, Mr Bartlett said. “This development has been a dream of Nigel Tomlin’s for 22 years,” Mr Bartlett said.“Encouragingly, Nigel believes there are hundreds of sites in Tasmania which are suitable for small-scale hydro generation. And it’s just as important to see innovative projects like this one in small townships such as Ellendale, as it is in the larger cities and towns,” he said.

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