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Chairman: Lieut.-General Sir John Monash, G.C.M.G., K.CJB., V.D., Doc. Eng.
Commissioners: Sir Thos. Rankin Lyle, M.A., Sc.D., F.R.S.; Sir Robert Gibson, K.B.E.; Francis William Clements.
Officers t Secretary—Roy Liddelow. Chief Engineer—Herbert Reah Harper. Engineer
in Charge of Briquetting and Research—Hyman Herman, D.Sc., B.C.E., M.M.E., F.G.S. Engineer in Charge of Coal Winning—John Morrice Bridge, B.E.
VICTORIA'S national scheme of electricity supply commenced to function in April, 1924. The manufacture of briquettes was commenced some six months later. At the present date—March, 1928—the activities of the Commission are shown in a daily output of 6000 tons of raw brown coal, 1,000,000 units of electricity, and 400 tons of briquettes. It has reticulated with transmission lines a large portion of the State, carrying electrical energy, with its uses and comforts, into many remote areas that otherwise would not enjoy these advantages for an indefinite period; has demonstrated the national value of the vast deposits of brown coal in the Latrobe Valley at Yallourn; has conducted researches into the pulverising and carbonising of brown coal which indicate further commercial possibilities in regard to the utilisation of this low-grade fuel; has explored and is exploiting the hydro-electric potentialities of the State, and is every day making Victoria more independent of outside sources of power and heat.
I lllllllllllllllllll Mil IMI 11IIIIIIIIIMIII IMI 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 lllllllll
Genesis and Functions of State Scheme........ 3
Yallourn Brown Coal Field................ 5
Characteristics of Yallourn Brown Coal.......... 6
Yallourn Power Station and Works.......... 7
Coal-winning Operations at Yallourn.......... 8
Overburden Dredge.................... 11
Coal Dredges........................ 12
Modern Coal-haulage Methods............ 13
A Modern Bunker.................... 13
Works of Power Generation................ 14
Combustion of High-moisture Coal.......... 15
Sugarloaf-Rubicon Hydro-Electric Scheme...... 37
Impressions of Sugarloaf-Rubicon Hydro-Electric
Area Served by Commission—Transmission and Distribution Systems......................
Model Town of Yallourn..................
Planning for the Future..................
Summary of Principal Events..............
60 70 74 74
In order that the Victorian State scheme of electricity supply may be viewed in its proper perspective, it is desirable at the outset to consider, shortly, not only its genesis, but the statutory duties which govern its activities.
In 1917, it became apparent that the State of Victoria was rapidly approaching a serious shortage of electrical power. The position was fraught with very grave consequences to the metropolitan area of Melbourne, where the existing power houses had reached a stage which rendered any extensions thereto economically impossible. The Government of the day appointed an Advisory Committee on Brown Coal, for the purpose of investigating the question of the commercial utilisation of the State's vast brown coal deposits, particularly in regard to the generation of electrical energy. The findings of the Committee were as follow:—-That it was essential for the industrial development of the State that an ample supply of electrical energy, at the lowest possible cost, be made available at the earliest possible date; that this was particularly important if Victoria was to attract new industries and to offset the existing disadvantages due to the high price of imported coal; that with the then price of black coal and estimated costs of mining brown coal, the brown coal fields of the State offered a much more economical source of fuel supply than black coal for the production of electrical energy; that an electrical generation and transmission scheme be established with a power house in the Latrobe Valley, at Morwell; and that an open cut mine be established in the vicinity of the power house, with the necessary equipment to provide an output equal to the power house requirements and any demand for other purposes.
Following the reception and consideration of this report, the State Electricity Commissioners Act 1918 was passed. This was subsequently amended and amplified by the State Electricity Commission Act 1920, which provided, inter alia, for the
appointment of Lieutenant-General Sir John Monash, G.C.M.G., K.C.B., as Chairman. Summarised, the duties imposed upon the Commission are as follow, viz.:—
(a) The ultimate co-ordination and unification of all State or other electrical undertakings in Victoria, and the adoption of such standards of plant and equipment and of system frequency and pressure for the generation, distribution, and supply of electricity as will admit of the efficient inter-connection of such undertakings, and interchange of electricity throughout the same, and, generally, the safe, economical and effective supply of electricity throughout Victoria, and to secure the amalgamation and concentration of such undertakings;
(b) To encourage and promote the use of electrical energy, and especially the use thereof for industrial and manufacturing purposes;
(c) To carry out investigations, surveys, explorations, and borings to ascertain the existence, nature and extent of coal deposits or of water-power suitable for use in connection with the generation of electricity and to ascertain suitable sites for generating stations;
(d) To carry out investigations as to the safest, most economical and most effective means for promoting, establishing, extending, and improving works for the generation, distribution, supply and use of electricity throughout Victoria, and particularly for industrial and manufacturing purposes;
(e) The administration of the Electric Light and Power Act 1915, which governs the operations of municipally and privately-owned undertakings.
The first duty of the Electricity Commissioners under the 1918 Act was to "submit a scheme for a coal-winning and electrical undertaking to be undertaken in the neighborhood of Morwell, and the distribution of electricity therefrom, and also a report setting forth the results of an inquiry into the relative practicability of utilising water power for electrical undertakings."
The Commissioners recommended the immediate opening up of the Morwell brown coal field, by means of open-cut operation, and the establishment thereon of a power-house of an initial capacity of 50,000 kilowatts, with the necessary transmission line to Melbourne, etc.
This recommendation was submitted to the Government on the 16th November, 1919, and adopted, and in 1920 a commencement was made to give full effect to the scheme, which included a factory for the manufacture of briquettes and the establishment of a new and self-contained town about one mile from the power station and within a much shorter distance of the briquetting factory. The name of Yallourn given to this town is derived from two aboriginal words meaning "brown" and "fire” respectively. However, the derivation of the name is of little consequence, because Yallourn is associated in everyone's mind with those vast deposits of brown coal in the Latrobe Valley which form the basis of Victoria's national scheme of electricity supply, and each year the undertaking assumes greater world-wide interest and importance as an example of fuel generation of electrical energy on a superlative scale.
The Yallourn field is one of several known deposits of brown coal in the State of Victoria. It is situated in the northwestern corner of the Latrobe Valley (Gippsland) brown coal area. From Melbourne it is 87 miles by rail, 90 miles by road, and 110 miles via the Commission's main high tension transmission line.
The Latrobe Valley brown coal deposits, of which Yallourn forms a part, cover about 800 square miles, and contain sufficient fuel to meet Victoria’s electrical requirements for thousands of years. The depth of the seams varies, but they are mostly remarkably thick. In one instance a 1000 ft. bore passed through 808 ft. of coal, the principal portion of The Immense which was in three tremendous beds, respectively 266 ft., 227 ft., and 166 ft. thick. Practically all this coal
Latrobe Valley is capable of being won by the open cut method, under which the overburden is first removed, thus exposing Deposits. the coal, and allowing it to be dug by the use of mechanical shovels or land dredges. The area at Yallourn
under the control of the Commission covers twenty square miles, in which it is computed there are 6,000,000,000 tons of coal, of an average thickness of 200 ft., lying beneath an average depth of 50 ft. of overburden. None of this coal is more than six miles from the power station. After allowing for the present and prospective requirements of the briquetting factory, there is sufficient coal in the field to generate 1,000,000 horse power of electrical energy daily for 400 years.
Therefore the supply is, for all practical purposes, a permanent one. The present Yallourn open cut contains 150,000,000 tons of
coal of an average thickness of 180 ft. lying beneath an average depth of 33 ft. of overburden. After allowing for the requirements
of the briquetting factory, there is enough coal in this cut to generate 200,000 horse power of electrical energy daily for fifty years.
On somewhat indefinite evidence the coal is regarded as probably Miocene in age, and is estimated to be not older than twenty million years. It is to be regarded not merely as a young coal, but as a young lignite, i.e., a coal retaining the texture of wood.
The Latrobe Valley coal is apparently formed of many types of vegetation, including a considerable portion of coniferous
tree stems, together with half-decayed leaves, spores and seed vessels, which probably drifted into large swamps when the beds
accumulated. Large tree trunks, several feet in circumference, and up to twenty and thirty feet in length, are Characteristics of common occurrence. Much of the wood in these stems can be split and bent almost like fresh wood, but
of Victorian strong chemical changes from the original woody tissues or other vegetable structure are evident in laboratory
Brown Coal. examinations. Partially altered plant remains average perhaps 50 per cent, of the coal, and consist chiefly of
wood or woody tissue or other vegetable structure in various stages of decay. The remainder of the coal appears to be decayed hydro-carbonaceous mud, with a good deal of resinous matter. Thus the coal seems to be partly of
swamp origin, the material being augmented by drifted wood, cone fruits, and other plant remains.
The coal bears a striking general resemblance to the brown coals of Germany. In the Yallourn cut the coal had about
66.5 per cent, of moisture before being opened up. In chemical and physical characteristics it is very much like the brown coals
Likeness to ^ Vineland, 'n Germany, and some of the softer and high-moisture coals of the Lausitz, in the south-east
German Brown Germany. Its moisture content already shows a diminution of 3 per cent., and when the full benefits of
£oa] large exposed coal faces following the use of the most modern excavators of both coal and overburden (which
are either being installed or on order) have been realised, it is confidently expected that the moisture in the coal, as mined, will be below 60 per cent.
The cost of mining a low-grade fuel is of paramount importance, but apart from the advantages the Yallourn fuel possesses in this regard, the coal is particularly well suited to briquetting without a binder, by the German method. To the present and prospective briquetting operations of the Commission, further reference will be found under their appropriate heading.
In the establishment of a power station for the generation of electrical energy by steam, water, of course, is as important as fuel. The existing plant of 50,000 kws., when operating at 50 per cent, load factor, requires about 40,000,000 gallons of water per day.
The Yallourn works are situated at the north-western limit of the field, the choice of site being determined by the proximity of a good supply of water from the Latrobe River for condensing purposes in the boiler plant, and by the fact that the power house and other permanent works could be erected on ground containing a negligible quantity of coal. The area occupied by the works and open cut is, however, below the flood level of the river, and is also the natural outlet for much of the surface water from the hills to the south-west. The works have accordingly been surrounded with levee banks, which have been carried three feet above the level of the highest flood ever recorded. The bank on the north side of the works, between them and the river, also serves the purpose of a railway, which is used for shunting and marshalling trucks. A system of surface drainage is installed, and the works and their surroundings are immune from the dangers of flooding and present a high and dry appearance.
The Yallourn open cut as it is to-day is 2,400 ft. long and 1,000 ft. wide. The height of the face of coal being operated on is 70 ft., or about 20 ft. less than half the full depth of the coal.
The daily output of coal is 6,000 tons.
At the present time all the coal won from the new cut is excavated by an electrically-operated shovel. This shovel, which will continue to be the coal-winning appliance at Yallourn until early in 1929, has a 10 cubic yards dipper, weighs 420 tons, can work on a 75 ft. coal face over an area of 98 ft. radius, and has a capacity of 2500 cubic yards per Digging and eight-hour shift. It excavates six tons of coal at each "bite." A travelling crushing, weighing, and loading
Transporting plant takes the discharge from the shovel, and delivers the crushed coal into a constant procession of gable-
the Coal. bottom trucks of three tons capacity on an endless steel ropeway of 1 in. diameter, running at 300 ft. per
minute. The trucks have automatic features throughout, principal of which are the tipping arm, which releases the loading buckets of the loader as each truck passes thereunder to receive its load, and the self-opening and closing doors which come into operation when the trucks deliver their loads at the receiving hoppers. Until 1927, the rope haulage, rising on a 71 per cent, grade, dumped the coal at the screening house, from which all coal under 2j in. in size was delivered by a similar haulage to the power station, the over-size (as well as crushed unscreened coal) going to the briquetting works by means of a third endless ropeway. The screening plant, which has now been eliminated from the circuit of operations, is built over a railway siding, and was designed to deliver coal at will to the rope haulages to both the power and briquetting plant, or to concrete storage bins. At the power station an electrically-operated telpher system conveyed the coal from the receiving hopper either to the boilers or to the storage dump. Now, however, a different system is in operation. The coal from the new cut is delivered by the rope haulage to two transfer hoppers—one for the power station and one for the briquetting factory. Transport to the briquetting factory is effected by a similar ropeway to that in the open cut. The coal for the power station is discharged from the receiving hopper into gable-bottom trucks of 20-ton capacity, hauled by electric locomotives to a 1,500-ton concrete bunker, to which subsequent reference will be found. At the briquetting factory itself the coal is taken from the bunkers to the crushers and screens by belt conveyors.
The whole system consists of a series of automatic operations, beginning with the excavation of the coal and ending with its delivery to the boiler bunkers and (in powdered form) to the briquetting presses. However, the limit of economical operation has been by no means reached, and radical modifications in present methods are at present being initiated, with a Future view of appreciably reducing coal-winning costs and providing for the requirements of 1931 and beyond, when
Coal-winning outputs of the order of 10,000 tons daily will be necessary to meet the demands of the power station and
Operations. briquetting factory. These modifications are in accordance with the decision of the Commission about two years
ago that the development of coal-winning operations at Yallourn should adhere closely to the methods adopted in Germany, where the open-cut mining of brown coal has reached a very high state of efficiency, allowing the commercial utilisation of this low-grade fuel to be undertaken with complete success, notwithstanding that in many cases the general conditions of mining are more difficult than those at Yallourn. It is a fact that in Germany a number of large power stations have been established on brown coal fields, and are expanding, in competition with energy generated from black coal stations, under conditions that are comparatively worse than those for brown coal stations in Victoria. Among these stations are:—Traffendorf (65,000 kw.) and Lauta (66,000 lew.), in East Germany: Golpa (160,000 kw.), in Prussia: Fortuna (140,000 kw.), and Golden-berwerke (280,000 kw.) in the Rhineland. The last-named station transmits energy into the heart of the largest black coal field in Europe, that of Westphalia. It is, besides, no uncommon sight in Germany to see huge consignments of brown coal briquettes passing through some of the largest black coal centres.
The decision of the Commission to follow German practice was adopted after its experts had been despatched to Germany for observation, and German engineers had been brought to Victoria for consultation and advice on the site of actual operations.
The New Scheme of Development.
In this latter connection the Commission was fortunate in securing the services of Mr. J. Klitzing, director of the Bergbau A.G., one of the largest brown coal undertakings in the world. This gentleman submitted a valuable report, comprehending every detail of the work, and offering a complete programme for the reorganisation of coal-winning operations.
In order to illustrate the immense possibilities of Yallourn he made an interesting comparison between that field and the Marga Mine, Germany, which comes under his direction. At the latter place 100 feet of overburden covers a coal seam of only 33 feet, whereas the ratio of overburden to coal at Yallourn is more than reversed. At Marga about 11,000 gallons of water have 1 to be pumped per minute, the deposit lying in decidedly swampy ground, through which runs a subterranean stream. Nevertheless, Marga, by the employment of all the latest perfections of open-cut mining machinery, operates on a profitable basis, and produces 3000 tons of briquettes per day, in addition to raw coal and power.
The Commission examined Mr. Klitzing’s scheme in the light of its own knowledge and experience1 and the results of the observations made abroad by its experts. Being thoroughly satisfied as to its economic and engineering soundness, the Commission adopted the scheme, which involves the substitution of the power shovels by dredges and the present rope haulage by electric transportation. It also entails much preliminary work to lay bare and otherwise prepare the faces, benches, grades, etc., for each new unit of plant to be installed. Briefly, the plant to be installed under the scheme is as follows:—
(a) One bucket dredger, for the removal of overburden, loading directly into 20-cubic yard trucks.
(b) Transportation plant for the delivery of overburden to the dump, and consisting of electric locomotives and 20-cubic yard trucks.
(c) One rail-shifting machine, to work in conjunction with the overburden dredger.
(d) One deep coal dredger, operating to a depth of 100 feet, and immediately discharging into a hopper for the loading of 20-ton trucks hauled by electric locomotives.
(e) One scraper dredger, to win all coal above the bench operated by the deep coal dredger, and also to discharge into a hopper for the loading of 20-ton trucks hauled by electric locomotives.
(f) Transportation plant, comprising electric locomotives, hauling rakes of six 20-ton trucks for delivery of the coal to a 1,500-ton bunker (already erected), the difference in level to be overcome by steep haulage of special design.
A carefully considered time programme has been prepared for the progressive installation of plant, while the whole plan is designed to ensure that each step taken shall form part of the complete scheme, and involve no interference with existing operations. When the whole scheme is complete the 10-cubic yard shovel will form the necessary reserve of coal-winning plant.
The overburden dredge is the first unit of the new plant to be installed, and will anticipate the erection of the deep coal dredge by about nine months, as, apart from the desirability of laying bare large bodies of coal to the drying effects of the atmosphere it is necessary that overburden removal shall keep well ahead of coal-winning. This dredge is now in operation The Overburden on the southern face of the Yallourn cut, creating a sufficient reserve of uncovered coal for the 10-cubic yard
Dredge. shovel, preparatory to being transferred to the new south-eastern alignment forming part of the Klitzing scheme,
and extending approximately 4000 feet in a south-easterly direction from the south-eastern corner of the present cut. This is the position in which, under the scheme, the deep coal dredger, operating on a radiating face principle, will eventually be placed.
The digging operation of a bucket dredge differs from that of a power shovel in that the spoil is delivered to the trucks in a continuous stream. The dredge, which is mounted on a set of rails, moves slowly along the working face, while the buckets, attached to two endless chains, scrape the overburden away and dump it into a hopper situated in the dredge, from where the overburden is discharged into a stationary train below it.
The dredge can dig against a face of 30 feet above rail level, or by rotating the upper portion and lowering the bucket ladder may be used to dig to a depth of 26 feet below rail level.
The rail track is laid on an even operating bench prepared by the dredge itself at a level from which it can remove the whole of the earth overlying the coal. The advantage of this arrangement is that the rails are always on a level formation.
The length of the dredge track on the working bench will ultimately be 4000 feet. In order to simplify and reduce the work of shifting tracks, the excavation work proceeds in a fan-shaped formation, the face pivoting about a point beyond which are placed the permanent sidings and transport lines.
The rate at which the removal of overburden is being accelerated by the operations of this machine may be gauged by the fact that its guaranteed output is 6,500 cubic yards face measurement in two eight-hour shifts. This output is 4,700 cubic yards greater than that of the 3^-cubic yard electric shovel which it is supplanting. Steam trains hauling rakes of 5-cubic yard hand-dumped trucks have been replaced by powerful electric locomotives hauling rakes of 20-cubic yard trucks, which may be
► discharged, either individually or collectively, by compressed air from the locomotives, the time taken to unload a whole train being about two minutes. The overburden is tipped into a hopper, from which belt conveyors, forming part of the equipment of a boom-stacker, take it to the dump. The boom-stacker combines the functions of a dumper and spreader, and is capable of forming a dump 60 feet high and 255 feet across.
A rail-shifting machine is an important economic adjunct to the dredge. By its means a heavy dredge track, say, 1000 ft.
long, having 100 lb. dredge rails and 80 lb. transport rails, may be moved, say 3 ft., in twenty minutes, whereas Mechanical such a task would take a large gang of men at least a day to do. The track will require to be moved about three
Rail Shifter. times a week, depending on the depth of overburden and the rate of progress of the dredge.
The track shifter is of the cantilever type. It grips the heads of the rails by a system of grooved rollers, and then raises both rails and sleepers, setting them down over a distance not exceeding 20 inches. The track shifter is then pulled or pushed by an electric locomotive on the track to be shifted, and by this operation re-aligns the track to the new position. By successive passes of the track shifter the rails are moved to any desired position.
The deep coal dredge to be installed will dig below rail level only, the full extent of its downward reach being 100 feet. As previously stated, it will, in the early stages of its work, excavate the coal at the new alignment formed by the overburden
dredge. In doing so, it will form the ultimate main working bench, approximately 120 feet below ground
How the level. When this lower bench becomes of sufficient width and length, the dredge, with its transportation
Coal Dredges plant, etc., will be transferred to it. The coal seam will thus be divided into two working faces, upper and lower,
will Work. of approximately equal height. The scraper dredge will also be installed on this new working bench, and against
the upper working face. It will win all coal down to the level on which it and the deep dredge are placed.
In this way, all coal-winning operations will be concentrated on a single working bench, the scraper dredge removing the coal
from the upper face at a sufficient rate to enable the deep dredge to be moved back as required.
The capacity of both dredges will be approximately 3750 tons per eight-hour shift. The scraper dredge differs from the coal dredge, in that the ladder is equipped with an endless chain of teeth instead of an endless chain of buckets. By means of these teeth, the coal is scraped down to the working bench, where a short ladder of buckets raises it and discharges it into the coal trucks.
The difference of 159 feet in the levels of the working bench and the 1500-ton bunker will be overcome by a steep incline, New Coal- up which the coal trains and locomotives will be hauled by a hoist of special design. Over the transfer
Haulage Methods. bunker the trucks will be discharged, as at present, by compressed air.
The new coal haulage methods decided upon are in accordance with the most modern German practice, and have been proved to effect a very appreciable reduction in the cost of delivering the coal. The inclined steep haulage is a special feature, and obviates a long line of rails. By its means the train, comprising an electric locomotive drawing six 20-ton trucks, will be enabled to overcome the large difference in level, in a short distance, between the main coal bench and the point of delivery to the receiving hoppers of the power station and briquetting works. The grade will be about one in six. Going up grade, a strong dummy truck attached to the haulage rope, places itself behind the loaded train, pushing it up, while an empty train descends behind a similar dummy truck on an adjoining set of rails. The dead weight of the ascending train is partly balanced by that of the descending
empty train, so that the useful load only has to be hauled up. Originally the mode of operation in Germany was to couple and
uncouple the locomotives before negotiating the steep haulage. The new method obviates this, thus saving time as well as power, and increasing the output of the haulage appliances by decreasing the period of each working cycle. In Germany, the capacity of such a single steep haulage has reached 12,000 tens per 24 hours, the dumping at the bunker being accomplished by one man per shift. The locomotives used are cf the double bogie type, and develop a total of 478 h.p. when supplied with current at 1100 volts. Each is provided with four D C motors.
À Modern Bunker.
The 1500-ton concrete bunker, to which reference has been made, is a permanent part of the scheme for supplies to the power station, and will serve also for some years as a feeder to the briquetting works rope haulage, until the time comes for the latter to be replaced by a direct system of locomotive haulage from the mine at about the latitude of the briquetting works, to which the coal will proceed from the mine in a general westerly direction. The bunker has novel features. Contrary to usual practice, it has no discharge doors, but is equipped with one longitudinal slot at the bottom, from which the coal flows on to a platform.
The coal is taken from the bunker by means of unloading machines which travel slowly along the length of the bunker and remove the coal from the platform by means of revolving doughs. As the coal is removed from the platform it is automatically replaced from the stocks in the bunker. The revolving ploughs of the unloading machines deliver the coal to a conveyor belt, which carries it to the crushers. The coal, of a size suitable for the power station, is diverted past the crushers, and the oversize is crushed. Both products are delivered to a continuation of the belt conveyor system, which carries them to the boiler bunkers in the power station or to the storage pile, which contains from 10,000 to 30,000 tons, according to circumstances.
The above is a brief description of the characteristics of the new plant. When installed, Yallourn will be a copy of the most modern brown coal undertaking in the world. The economies to be effected by this plant may be computed from the fact that • whereas to-day coal delivered to the power and briquetting plants costs about 2/6 per ton, the cost in 1931
A Modernised is expected to be reduced to less than 2/- per ton on daily outputs of approximately 10,000 tons. The plant
Yallourn. will thus pay for itself in a few years. The savings to be achieved are mainly by large reductions in the
labor personnel, due to the employment of latest types of excavators (referred to above), by the spreading of capital and administration charges over a much larger tonnage, and by the entire elimination of the screen house, with its attendant costs.
The first power station operated by the State Electricity Commission was Newport "B ”. This station was completed for operation in the middle of 1923, pending the erection of the brown coal power station at Yallourn. Newport "B" is built adjacent to the Newport “A" power station of the Railways Commissioners in such a manner that the two enginerooms Newport “B” are merged into one, although the electrical switch houses and control rooms and the boiler houses of the two
Power Station. stations are quite distinct. Newport "B" has two Parsons steam turbo alternators, which have a rated capacity
of 15,000 kw. at 3000 revolutions per minute, with steam pressure at 250 lb. and temperature of 700° F. Three-phase, 50-cycle energy is generated at a pressure of 6600 volts. The feeder circuits are operated at 22,000 volts. The boiler-house of Newport "B” contains Babcock and Wilcox’s marine cross drum boilers with furnaces specially designed to burn brown coal, either raw or briquetted, and black coal.
+————»—— ------—— --------------------—*
The Yallourn Power House came into operation in May, 1924, when power was transmitted over the main Yallourn-Mel-bourne transmission line. This transmission line is 110£ miles in length, comprises 521 steel towers, operates at a pressure of 132,000 Yallourn volts, and ends at a terminal station at the suburb of Yarraville. The installed capacity of the Yallourn power
Power House station is 62,500 kw. in five 12,500 kw. Metropolitan-Vickers turbo-generators. Its normal operating capacity is
50,000 kw., but it has reached a maximum load of 64,000 kws. Energy is generated at 11,000 volts, and stepped up to 132,000 volts for transmission to Melbourne.
The power station boiler house plant consists of twelve John Thompson (Wolverhampton) water tube boilers, each of Yallourn 14,425 sq. ft. heating surface, with 3870 sq. ft. super-heater surface, and three underfeed stoker travelling grates,
Boiler House each 122 sq. ft. area. The steam pressure and temperature are 260 lb. (gauge) and 650° F. respectively.
There are six 13-ft. internal diameter stacks rising 170 ft. above the firing floor, twelve forced-draught and six induced-draught fans, and two sets of ash and dust extraction plant.
Although the burning of the high-moisture Yallourn coal (at present containing about 63.5% water content) has presented no difficulty, a considerable amount of research and experimental woik has been done in the boiler house to improve the efficiency and Burning High- capacity of the boilers in the use of this class of fuel under power-house conditions. These experiments and
Moisture Coal researches by the Commission’s own staff have been uniformly successful, and it is no exaggeration to say the
combustion results achieved are at least as good, if not better, than those obtaining under the best German
On several boilers lengthy trials were made with louvred driers, down which the coal passed vertically to the automatic stokers, and at the same time came under the influence of waste furnace gases passing horizontally through the coal columns on their way to the stacks. One boiler was, during 1926, fitted with a step grate in front of the travelling stoker, with a resultant large increase in boiler capacity. The combination of step and travelling grates gives, with 65 per cent, moisture coal, a continuous boiler output considerably in excess of the 70,000 lb. per hour guaranteed by the contractors for 50 per cent, moisture coal. However, the purpose of the tests was to dispense with the process of screening the coal, and the best demonstra-
tion of the results which have been obtained is the elimination of the screening house. The results indicate that by June, 1928, the entire boiler plant (as some boilers are already doing) will be using nothing but new-cut run of mine coal, and will, at the same time, be producing 25 per cent, more steam than it was orginally designed to produce. This achievement is all the more gratifying because it makes possible the provision of another 12,500-kw. generator at Yallourn, for the purpose of meeting the anticipated public demand for power in the winter of 1928. This demand last winter exceeded the forecast by 5000 kws. (approximately 7000 horse power), and caused the existing generating plant at Yallourn to be seriously overloaded. The new generator will enable the system to cope with the excess demand, while the progressive provision made elsewhere than at Yallourn will cover the normal anticipated increment.
The lay-out of the Yallourn Power Station is such that it can be extended to deal with a maximum demand of 150,000 kw. Lay-out of The station is situated adjacent to the weir, which has been constructed on the Latrobe River, for the purpose
Yallourn of raising the level of the water, and also of providing a storage of cold water which can be drawn upon
Power Station. at any time when condensed water is required at a greater rate than the flow of the river.
RICHMOND POWER STATION.
operated as a single-phase station by the set is being installed in readiness for the
A second power house in the metropolitan area is at Richmond, until recently Melbourne Electric Supply Company Ltd. Here a 15,000-kw., three-phase, 50-cycle winter load of 1929. 2
Removing Overburden—Yallourn Open Cut. This dred ge has a capacity of 6,500 cubic yards face measurement
in two 8-hour shifts.
TRANSPORTING THE OVERBURDEN.—Powerful Electric Locomotives, hauling rakes of ten 20 cubic-yard trucks, convey the overburden to the dump.
Overburden Dumper and Spreader.—The overburden is taken from the receiving hoppers to the point of
discharge by a belt conveyor.
Ten Cubic Yard Electric Coal-winning Shovel, operating against a face of coal 70 feet high. The shovel excavates six tons at a bite. In 1929 a deep coal dredge, to be followed by a scraper dredge, will be installed. The shovel will then form the reserve of coal-winning plant.
/ \ /y
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Ten Cubic Yard Electric Shovel delivering Coal to the Weigher, Crusher, and Loader. The automatic loading of the endless procession of rope~hauled coal trucks (to be supplanted in 1929 by 20^ton coal trucks hauled by electric locomotives) is seen in the picture.
Yallourn Power Station and Coal Storage; also showing Beit Conveyor leading directly from 1,500-ton
One of two Steel Towers, 247 feet high, which carry the transmission wires across the Yarra River to the Yarraville Terminal Station (marked with a cross).
Yarraville Terminal Station—the main controlling centre of the State system. It receives electricity from Yallourn and other power stations in bulk; steps down the pressure, and distributes the energy to sub-stations throughout the metropolitan and extra-metropolitan areas.
A Suburban Sub-station, where electricity is received from Yarraville at a pressure of 22,000 volts, and stepped down to 6,600 volts, for delivery to street transformers. These reduce the pressure to 400 volts for reticulation purposes. Eventually it reaches the consumer at 230 volts.
It is a common assumption that hydro-electric schemes, with a natural force harnessed to do all the necessary work, must naturally be more economical than schemes based on fuel generation of electrical energy. However, many different factors affect the economic balance between thermal and hydraulically-produced electricity. Sometimes the development of hydro-electric schemes, as a matter of public policy in regard to fuel conservation, may outweigh any advantage there may be on the side of thermal plant. Fortunately, this problem does not intrude itself into the Commission's calculations, as the State's resources of low-grade fuel in the form of brown coal are unlimited. At the same time, the hydro-electric potentialities of the State are not outstanding, as they are in some countries, where tremendous blocks of power may be economically developed at a single point adjacent to the centres of demand. At best, Victoria offers the opportunity of comparatively small and scattered schemes, in isolated situations, far removed from the centre of demand, and involving expensive headworks and long lengths of transmission lines over sparsely-populated areas. The capital cost of hydro-electric power in this State is, therefore, inherently high, excepting in very special cases, such as the Sugarloaf and Hume Reservoirs, where the headworks form part of irrigation schemes. Here, also, disadvantages exist, because the period of the year when the water is being conserved coincides with the period when the demand for electricity is greatest.
The basic factor in considering fuel and water schemes is the relative cost of producing the electrical energy necessary.
The advancement in the art of generation, the immense improvement in boiler and turbine efficiencies, and the cheapened costs of winning and delivering coal made possible by the use of modern dredging and transportation plant where open-cut operation obtains, all tend to eliminate manual labour and cheapen the cost of fuel generation of power. Even in countries where water power is plentiful and coal comparatively dear, steam-plants are on a competitive basis with water power.
Apart from climatic, geographical, and other natural disadvantages to which Victoria is subject in regard to hydraulic energy, there is also the technical question of load factor to be considered. The high capital cost makes it necessary that the
+ maximum resources of any hydro-electric scheme should be availed of, but the time is bound to arise when the continuity and magnitude of the demand for power will make such schemes economical propositions and desirable adjuncts to fuel generating stations. At present, however, the demand throughout the twenty-four hours is not such as to justify any addition to the Sugarloaf-Rubicon hydro-electric scheme, which will be in operation next winter. While this is so, the Commission has never ceased to explore the hydro-electric potentialities of the State, and it is part of the duty of its civil engineering staff to keep a record of gaugings of stream flow and prepare other data relative to possible hydro sources of supply, special attention being given 'o localities where appreciable blocks of power may be available. In this connection, the Kiewa and Mitta Mitta Rivers are receiving constant attention, and the possibilities of the Snowy River are also to be explored.
The construction of the Hume Reservoir has an important bearing on the future electrical requirements of this State as a whole, and the Murray Valley in particular. At the instance of the State Electricity Commission, arrangements have been made for the spillway to be constructed so that it may be utilised for the generation of electricity without injuring the value of the Weir for irrigation or navigation, and it is estimated that approximately 40,000 horse-power of electrical energy will be available from this source alone. It is expected that the dam will be completed in 1932 or 1933.
An investigation of the Kiewa River proposal formed part of the Commission's initial activities, and Mr. A. G. M. Michell, M.C.E., was engaged to prepare a report thereon. The scheme submitted by Mr. Michell had the Kiewa River as its basis, and the Eildon Weir at Sugarloaf and the mountain streams of the Rubicon as auxiliaries. The total capital cost of this scheme, as submitted in 1920, was £3,715,527, for an output of 37,000 kilowatts, and this cost would undoubtedly be increased if based on present price levels. As an adjunct to Yallourn, the scheme was of greater magnitude than the requirements warranted, while it could not be considered as an alternative to Yallourn, Decause in that case it would not fulfil requirements and offered no scope for expansion.
Investigations were, however, continued in regard to the auxiliary and more economical section of the scheme, viz., the Sugarloaf Basin and the Rubicon streams. In May, 1922, therefore, Messrs. J. M. and H. E. Coane, consulting engineers, submitted
a report on the minor proposal, which is now known as the Sugarloaf-Rubicon hydro-electric scheme. The scheme, as finally adopted, is based on five hydro-electric stations, with an approximate horse-power aggregating 35,450, viz.:—
Sugarloaf .. .. Royston .. .. Rubicon .. .. Lower Rubicon Rubicon Falls
Provision has also been made for the possible future addition of a sixth Power Station on Snob’s Creek. The total estimated cost of the scheme is £1,154,630, and its purpose is to supply the north-eastern districts of the State, as well as to assist in meeting the growing metropolitan demand.
The scheme provides for the harnessing of the mountain streams known as the Rubicon and Royston Rivers and (by arrangement with the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission) the utilisation of the irrigation waters discharged by the Eildon Weir, Sugarloaf, at the junction of the Goulburn and Dela'tite Rivers.
The stations are situated within a radius of 20 miles from Alexandra, and are distant some 80 or 90 miles by road from Melbourne. They are adjacent to the Commission's main high-tension line running from Melbourne to Sugarloaf, and from Sugar-loaf to the border of New South Wales.
The first unit of the new scheme to come into operation was the Lower Rubicon Power Station, which commenced to function in March, 1928. The scheme is not large, comparatively speaking, but as representing the initial development of the States hydro-electric resources it is especially interesting, and a detailed description of it is therefore given.
SUGARLOAF POWER STATION.
The Sugarloaf Power Station is located immediately on the downstream side of the Sugarloaf Dam, or Eildon Weir, which is just below the confluence of the Goulburn and Delatite Rivers, and provides a reservoir in which the winter flow of the rivers is stored, for gradual release during the irrigation season. The water is not diverted from the river at this point, but follows its natural course to the Nagambie Weir, many miles further downstream.
The full supply level of the Sugarloaf Reservoir is about 116 feet above the downstream water level, and the water thus flows from the reservoir under considerable pressure, and by passing it through turbines its energy is utilised for the generation of electricity. As no water is required for irrigation during the winter, the outflow of water is stopped about May, and the reservoir allowed to fill. No power is available till the reservoir overflows, or till water is again drawn off for irrigation purposes. In a very wet year there may be no shut down, while in a bad drought year the conservation period may extend to five months. The average period without power will be about two months per year.
The disadvantage arising from this gap in the power output has been overcome by combining with the Sugarloaf station a group of stations on the Rubicon River and its tributary, the Royston, in the same district. The flow in these streams is greatest during the winter period and least during the summer, when power is available from Sugarloaf. The two sections of the scheme are thus complementary to each other, and together provide a much more uniform output of power than could be obtained from either section separately. The total power output will vary with the supply of water, but can be relied upon to produce at least 11,500 kilowatts (approximately 15,400 horse power).
The river bed at Sugarloaf Dam is at a level of 700 ft. above sea level, and the downstream water surface at moderate flow about seven feet higher. The reservoir has a full supply level of 823 feet, and a capacity of 306,000 acre-feet, i.e., a quantity of water sufficient to cover 306,000 acres one foot deep or 30,600 acres ten feet deep. Provision has, however, been made in the design and construction of the dam so that, if necessary, the capacity may be increased to 900,000 acre feet, by raising the dam 52 feet higher. With the present capacity of the reservoir it is proposed to discharge the water during the outflow period at the rate of 1,660 acre feet (450,000,000 gallons) per day.
Spillway, Eildon Weir, Sugarloaf, showing section of pipe, 13 ft. 6 in. in diameter and 320 ft. long, which will convey the water to the Sugarloaf Power Station (in course of construction), and operate two Turbines, each or 9,000 horse-power capacity.
As the use of electric power is much less between midnight and 6 a.m. than during the daytime, the hydraulic plant has been designed to pass the day's quantity of water in 18 hours, corresponding to a rate of 1,110 cubic feet per second. When the reservoir is overflowing the water may, of course, be passed out through the turbines at a greater rate, and the turbines have been made of ample capacity, so that advantage may be taken of the additional energy available at such times.
The water is led from the reservoir to the power station by means of a steel pipe 13 ft. 6 in. in diameter and 320 ft. long passing through the concrete spillway wall of the reservoir. The power station is a concrete building equipped with an electric crane of 50 tons capacity. In this building are installed two vertical-shaft, Francis-type turbines, supplied The Pipe Line by Boving 6 Co., of London, each of 9,000 h.p., 250 r.p.m., direct coupled to a 7,200-kva Brown Boveri alterand Turbines. nator. These machines are specially designed to operate satisfactorily under a head varying from 116 ft. (with
reservoir full) down to 60 ft. (the level of the inlet to the pressure pipe). They are also so designed that, when the head is increased to 168 ft. by increasing the height of the dam only the turbine runner will need to be changed, all the other parts of the turbine, as well as the generator, being adaptable to the altered conditions.
MOUNTAIN STREAM STATIONS.
The relative positions of the various stations in the Rubicon-Royston system may best be seen by reference to the map.
The principal station (Rubicon) is located at the junction of the Rubicon and Royston Rivers.
About five miles upstream on each stream a diversion dam has been built to turn the water from the river bed into a concrete-lined channel or race. The Rubicon diversion dam is located at a level of 2,800 feet. Between this point and the site Tt, H l w ! of the Rubicon Power Station the river falls nearly 1,600 feet. Of this, about 250 feet is concentrated at the
e ea or.rs. £ubjcon paHsl while the remainder is distributed over the whole length of the river, which has a grade of
about 1 in 25.
In the smooth, regular concrete race, a grade varying from 1 in 200 to 1 in 450 is sufficient to carry the water. The total fall in the race is only about 125 feet, so that its lower extremity is at an elevation of 2,675 feet, or 1,455 feet above the river at the
power station site. The race terminates in a pipe-head basin on the end of the spur between the two rivers. From this basin a
steel pressure pipe varying from 39 in. to 33 in. in diameter conveys the water to the power station.
The diversion dam on the Royston River is located at a level just over 3,000 feet, and the race is carried through a
saddle in the ridge into the valley of the Rubicon. The end of the race is 266 feet above the Rubicon race, which carries the
water the remainder of the distance to the Rubicon pipe head. To utilise this difference of level the Royston Royston Power power station has been installed. To this station the water is carried by a 30-inch diameter pressure pipe from
Station. the pipe-head basin at the end of the race. This pipe is of continuous wood stave construction in the upper
(low pressure) section of its length, and of riveted steel in the lower portion. The power station contains one horizontal-shaft Boving turbine of reaction or Francis type (1050 h.p., 1000 r.p.m.), coupled to an 800-kva Westinghouse alternator. The water after giving up its energy is discharged into the Rubicon race.
The concrete-lined races have in general a bottom width of 4 ft., with sides sloping at 45 degrees. The concrete lining is 3 inches thick. Several gullies cross the line of races. In some instances the race is graded round the head of the gully. In other instances it is more economical to carry it over the gully in a reinforced concrete flume or bridge channel, while in others an inverted siphon is installed, i.e., a pipe following down the side slopes of the gully and connecting to the race on either side.
At several of these gullies small diversion dams have been built in order that the flow of the stream may be turned into the main race when required. Even with this addition the water available in a dry summer is not sufficient to provide full output from the power station throughout the 24 hours. Rather than operate the station continuously at partial head, it is better to obtain full output during the period of maximum demand in the daytime, even if this necessitates shutting down the station during the night. Therefore, a sufficient storage is provided at the diversion dams to conserve the night flow so that it shall supplement the natural flow during the following day. Valves which are provided enable the outflow from these pondages to be regulated from the control centre (Rubicon "A" substation).
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The Royston River—Site of Diversion Dam.—Sugarloaf-Rubicon Hydro-Electric Scheme.
Royston Pipe Line and Power Station, which contains one 1050-h.p. Turbine.—Sugarloaf-Rubicon Hydro-Electric Scheme.
The Rubicon diversion dam is a concrete arch structure 35 feet high, giving a pondage capacity of 17 acre-feet. The Royston dam is of the reinforced concrete buttress and slab type, 20 feet high, and provides a capacity of 16 acre-feet.
As already mentioned, the Rubicon race terminates in a pipe-head basin, from which a steel pipe leads to the power station. This basin is a small concrete-lined storage, with sufficient capacity to provide for variations in flow incidental to governor operation. It also acts as a silt chamber where suspended solids may be deposited from the water, any accumulation being removed periodically through a scour valve. A spillway is also provided so that, if it should be necessary to stop the flow of the water in the pipe line quickly, the water flowing in the race may be safely discharged to the river.
The pipe conveying the water to the power station is of riveted steel construction. The diameter at the upper end of the pipe is 39 inches, but in the lower parts, where the pressure is much greater, the diameter is reduced successively to 36 and 33 inches. The thickness varies from £ in. at the upper end to in. in the section adjoining the power station. The length of the pipe is 4,280 feet, and the static head 1,455 feet.
In the pipe near its upper end is an automatic valve, the function of which is to shut off the water in the event of an accident occurring to the pipe or the turbine plant, which would allow the water to escape without control. As soon as the velocity of the water through this valve exceeds a pre-determined value, a pendulum hanging in the water is deflected sufficiently to trip a weight, which closes the valve and prevents entry of any further water to the pipe. An inlet valve admits air below the valve, so as to prevent the formation of a vacuum which might bring about the collapse of the pipe.
The pipe is supported on concrete piers 30 feet apart, corresponding to the lengths of the sections in which the pipe is made. At all changes of grade the pipe is built into massive concrete anchorages, designed to withstand the thrust resulting from the bend in the pipe. Anchorages are also provided at intervals of about 300 feet between bends.
Immediately below each anchorage is an expansion joint of the packed gland type, to accommodate variation of length with change of temperature. On the intermediate piers the pipe is carried on rollers to give free endwise movement with varying temperatures.
At an early stage in the construction work an electrically-operated inclined haulage was built alongside the route of th.s pipe line. It has always been a feature of the work, and has provided official visitors with many thrills as a dizzy means of ascent to the higher levels. Its length is 4,280 feet, in which distance it rises 1,455 feet, so that the average grade is 1 in 3. The journey by haulage occupies about ten minutes, all of which are crowded with interest, and also contain, for the nervous passenger, no little apprehension, which may explain why the return journey on foot, along the Rubicon and past the little Falls Power Station, is invariably taken with alacrity!
The Steep Haulage.
All the plant and material for the portions of the scheme on the higher levels was hauled up the incline and transported from the top of the haulage to its destination by means of a steel tramline laid on the bank of the downhill side of the race. The electric haulage was also used to place in position the 30 feet lengths of pressure pipe for Rubicon Power Station. At the lower end of the pipe these lengths weigh about 7 tons each. The various sections of the pipe were riveted together by pneumatic power.
The electric haulage and tramline have been left in position to facilitate patrol and maintenance work.
At the Rubicon Power Station the pipe divides into two branches 24 in. in diameter, to supply the water to the two turbines. These machines are each of 6,000 h.p„ of the Impulse or Pelton Wheel type, running at 500 r.p.m The turbines.
which were supplied by Boving & Co., are direct coupled to 4,750-kva Westinghouse alternators. The supply Rubicon of water to the turbines is controlled by the usual arrangement of needle valve and deflector, but the needle valve
Power Station. and deflector are not inter-connected, as is generally the case, but are operated quite independently of each other.
The Rubicon Power Station Building is of steel-framed construction, with roof and wall covering of galvanised iron. It is equipped with an electric travelling crane of 22 tons capacity for handling the plant.
The water, after passing through the turbines, is carried by the tail race back to the Rubicon River, but is immediately diverted again into the head of the race supplying the Lower Rubicon Power Station.
Rubicon Power Station, showing Haulage and Pipe Line.— Sugarloaf-Rubicon Hydro-Electric Scheme.
Interior of Lower Rubicon Power Station, showing 3600-h.p. Turbine.— Sugarloaf-Rubicon Hydro-Electric Scheme.
The quantity of water necessary to operate the Rubicon Station to full capacity is 90 cusecs, i.e., 90 cubic feet per second. This quantity is available at the diversion dams during somewhat more than half of an average year. As additional water joins the rivers from the catchment area below the diversion dams, the total flow available at the junction of the rivers is considerably greater than the total at the diversion dams, and it is found that a flow of HO cusecs is available at the junction during the same percentage of time as the 90 cusecs at the upper diversion dams. The Lower Rubicon race is therefore of 140 cusecs capacity, and provision is made for the additional water in the rivers to be diverted into the race, as well as the water from the turbines at the Rubicon Power Station. At periods of low flow the extra 50 cusecs will not be available continuously from the natural flow of the rivers, and a supplementary pondage has been provided at Rubicon Falls to conserve the water for use at Lower Rubicon Station when required during the hours of maximum demand each day.
It will be seen that of the 140 cusecs of water used at Lower Rubicon Power Station there are only 50 cusecs which have not been previously utilised for generation purposes, as 45 cusecs have already passed through the Royston Power Station, and 90 cusecs through the Rubicon Power Station, the total head utilised being 2,100 feet.
The Lower Rubicon Race is of similar construction to that already described, but contains a greater depth of water. It terminates in a forebay or pipehead basin similar to that on the Rubicon race. A riveted steel pipe 51 in. in diameter and 1,045 feet long carries the water thence to the Lower Rubicon Power Station. This building, of steel frame Lower Rubicon and galvanised iron construction, contains one 3,600 h.p., 750 r.p.m. Boving reaction turbine, direct coupled
Power Station. to a 2,850-kva Westinghouse alternator.
The smallest member of the group, the Rubicon Falls Power Station, was built at the commencement of the construction work, and supplied all the electric power for operating the inclined haulage, stone crushers, concrete mixers, etc. The power requirements of Alexandra are also supplied by it. It is located just below the falls on the Rubicon River, and utilises Rubicon Falls the head that can be developed there by a comparatively short length of pipe. This pipe is of wood-stave
Power Station. construction, varying from 24 to 21 inches in diameter, and is 1,200 feet long, giving a static head of 300 feet.
The Rubicon Falls pondage dam also does duty as a diversion dam for the Rubicon Falls Power Station. The turbine is a Boving Impulse machine, 400 h.p., 500 r.p.m., coupled to a 350-kva A.S.E.A. alternator.
The generating voltage is 6,600 at all stations. At Royston station it can be raised to 6,900 to compensate for drop on the line to Rubicon Power Station, where the feeder from Royston is tied in to the 6,600 busbars. The line from Rubicon Falls station also ties in at this point. At Rubicon and Lower Rubicon Power Stations the voltage is stepped up to 23,800 Generating for transmission to Rubicon "A" substation. At Rubicon "A" further transformers raise the voltage to 70,000,
Voltage. at which pressure the energy is fed to the transmission lines running from that point to Melbourne and
to the North-Eastern District. At Sugarloaf Power Station the energy is stepped direct from 6,600 volts to 70,000, and connected to the same transmission line. The H.T. switchgear at all power stations, as well as at Rubicon 'A,” is of the outdoor type, and the transformers are air cooled.
The generating stations are unattended, and the whole group is supervised and controlled from the central control at what is known as the Rubicon "A” substation. Each station is equipped with automatic switchgear and hydraulic equipment, which, when operated by the supervisory control switches at Rubicon "A," will perform the following functions:— Long Distance 1. Open or close feeder oil circuit breakers.
Supervision 2. Start the station and connect it to the system,
and Control. 3. Take the station off load and shut it down.
4. Raise or lower the loading on the station.
The automatic equipment is so interlocked that operations must take place in their proper sequence, in most cases, this is achieved by controlling each operation by the switch or apparatus operating directly before it in the sequence.
In addition to the above, other automatic devices protect the station by—
(a) Preventing starting up under conditions which are unfavourable to proper operation or harmful to the plant.
(b) Protecting the station, when running, if conditions arise which would be harmful, by isolating faulty parts of the system or by shutting down the station according to the nature of the fault. If a transient fault occurs, the station will be isolated or
shut down until such fault disappears, and if a fault occurs which would make further running dangerous the station will be
automatically shut down and locked out until attention has been given to the plant and the trouble has been rectified,
(c) Preventing the stations from being loaded beyond safe limits or in excess of the water available.
In addition to the control, the supervisory system is used to afford the operator at Rubicon “A" indications of the flow of
water in the streams above the pondages, the levels in the pondages, flows in the race lines, and at the gate or needle positions of the turDines.
This supervisory system is a combined operating and signal system. The control and signal equipment for each operation, or pair of operations, consists of a two-position key and two indicating lamps. These keys and lamps are mounted on a convenient panel in Rubicon "A" substation. .
The electrical overheating devices will shut down, or prevent the station running in the event of—
(b) Overheating of the machine bearings; •
(c) Field failure;
(d) Single or reverse phase operation;
(e) Sustained overload, which would overheat the generator windings;
(f) Heavy overload;
(h) Failure of insulation of generator windings;
(i) Failure of insulation of transformer windings. 4
As a spectacle, the hydro-electric scheme may be in one respect disappointing to the ordinary visitor. True, the surroundings are delightful, as the Rubicon Valley, with its great flanking ridges covered with towering eucalypti and flowering native shrubs, and intersected by crystal mountain streams rippling over pebbly beds or winding through shady fern Impressions of gullies, represents the Australian bush at its best, with all its peaceful calm. The trouble is that the peaceful
the Scheme. calm seems to have communicated itself to the power system. Thirty-five thousand horse power! Yet to the
uninitiated, it does not display as much energy as a six-horse team on a country road. The water glides sleepily along the races with not a fraction of the energy it manifests in its natural rocky channel, and at the end of the race it silently vanishes into a pipe. Nothing could look more passive than that pipe. Only to the practised eye are the thick plates and heavy riveting at its power-house end a symbol of the enormous pressure within—more than twice as great as the steam pressure in any boiler in Australia. The power station building, severe in its simplicity, gives no indication of the Titan forces therein concentrated. The visitor enters, to find the place deserted, not even an enginedriver being present. Were it not for the hum of the generators he would think the plant is idle; but a glance at the dial on the instrument board shows that it is steadily pumping 12,000 h.p. into that network of wires which Victoria already regards as an essential part of her life. The visitor is startled from his musing by a click from the station switchboard. It is only the operator at Rubicon "A," four miles away, reading the temperature of the main bearing.
The very fact that surprises the layman—the absence of any appearance of power—is that in which the engineers of the scheme take pride. They will explain that energy apparent to the eye is energy dissipating itself, and represent a loss of precious units of electricity. Of the million horse power generated at Niagara Falls, not one unit is derived from the water crashing over the cataract. It all comes from the water diverted above the falls and passed, under strict control, through tunnels and pipes to the turbines, which release it to the river again, below the falls.
So in Victoria's much more modest scheme : Efficiency decrees that no energy can be spared for spectacular display, for all is needed to provide the cities and farms many miles away with that greatest of servants—Electricity.
The transmission systems are made up of three sections, viz.:—
(1) Main 132,000-volt transmission line, carrying power from Yallourn to Melbourne.
(2) Metropolitan supply system.
(3) Country district service.
The Commission has approximately 1,300 route miles of overhead and underground high-tension transmission lines now in operation. These lines radiate in all directions, passing over 50 municipalities en route, and carrying energy for distances up to 300 miles from the source of supply at Yallourn.
The metropolitan supply system covers the direct supply of energy to 34 centres in the metropolitan and outer metropolitan areas, the latter including such centres as Bayswater, Dandenong, Ferntree Gully, Tremont, Sherbrooke, Ferny Creek, Sassafras, Mulgrave, Ringwocd, and Lilydale, as well as the whole of the Mornington Peninsula, In Essendon, Flemington, Dandenong, and Sunshine the Commission controls both the supply and distribution of electricity. It also supplies electricity in bulk to ten metropolitan municipal councils, as well as to the Melbourne Electric Supply Company Limited, whose undertaking will be absorbed by the Commission in 1930.
The country supply system is divided into three areas, viz., Western District, Gippsland, and North-Eastern District.
The first-named does not take its energy from the Commission’s generating plants, but is supplied in bulk from the Melbourne Electric Supply Company’s generating plant at Geelong. This section of the company’s undertaking will also be absorbed in 1930.
Gippsland takes power direct from Yallourn. The transmission lines extend south as far as Leongatha, east to Bairnsdale, and west to Drouin.
The North-Eastern District is at present supplied through the transmission line from Melbourne to Sugarloaf. In 1928 it will take supply from the Sugarloaf-Rubicon hydro-electric scheme. The reticulation of the North-Eastern district affords the
best example of the economy and reliability of the Commission’s service of transmitted energy over long distances. As in all other districts, it has superseded local plants in many instances. In others it has initiated supply. The case of Albury, in New South Wales, is interesting. It is not the ordinary function of the Commission to supply centres across the border, but following upon an agreement with the New South Wales Government, arrangements were made for both Albury and Corowa to take bulk supply from the Commission's substations on the Victorian side of the Murray. Albury found it cheaper and better to scrap its local plant in order to do so, and this city has been getting a perfectly satisfactory service from Yallourn, 300 miles distant. Corowa’s supply is no less efficient and satisfactory.
The erection of the north-eastern transmission line presented difficult features, as much of it had to traverse some of the roughest and most inaccessible country in the State. However, the work was carried out without a hitch, and the line has operated most satisfactorily. It includes the longest span in the State, that at the Sugarloaf Dam, the distance from shore to shore (or from hill to hill) between the special supporting towers being just under one mile. The sag in the cables is about 250 feet, and the total weight of the cables nearly six tons.
The number of purely country centres now served by the Commission is about 100, of which sixty had no supply previously.
The number of butter factories, creameries, and milk product companies in rural areas now taking supply from the Commission's transmission lines, as at March, 1928, was thirty-three.
The vigorous development which is taking place in rural districts is best evidenced by the increased consumption of electricity in those country centres wherein local plants have been superseded by the Commission's transmission system. The following is a characteristic selection of such towns, and the results shown are conservative, because they are calculated from the figures for the nearest quarter after the Commission assumed control, as compared with a corresponding quarter in 1927:—
Benalla (North-Eastern District) .............. 13% increase in consumption
Shepparton „ ..................135% „ t> „
Camperdown (Western District) ........
......107% „ „
Colac „ „ ........
...... 72% „ ,.
Terang „ „ ........
...... 44% ,. „
Korumburra (Gippsland District) ........
...... 22% .. „
Leongatha „ „ ........
...... 26% ., „
Sale „ „ ........
...... 247% „ „
Dandenong (Eastern Metropolitan District) .. ..
...... 84% „ „
Sunbury (Extra Metropolitan District) ......
...... 20% „ .,
Farmers are directing their attention to electricity, because the all-electrified farm is no longer a dream to the man on the land within range of the State system. To-day many farmers, either individually or in groups, are taking supply from the Commission, and in most of these instances electricity is being applied to the common tasks of the farm— Electrified working elevators, cutting chaff and firewood, grinding corn, milking, separating, etc. In some farmhouses are
Farms. to be found all those electrical labour-saving devices which eliminate drudgery and add to the amenities of
home life. In fact, many of the farm-houses which now enjoy a supply of transmitted energy are better equipped electrically than most modern city homes. To the farmer and his wife electricity does not come in the ordinary course of events, as it does to the city dweller. Generally speaking, they have to go to some trouble and display some initiative in getting supply. While electric light is a boon in itself, they are not, as is the city householder, inclined to think in terms of light only, but having obtained the service, desire to exploit its advantages to the full. The Commission's function is to give electricity at cost to as many people as possible. The only area of the State to which its lines do not extend is the northern section, of which Bendigo and Ballarat are the chief cities and "key” centres. At present, a private company operates in both places. However, they will be linked up with the State system in 1931, and numerous other towns in the area—many of which do not possess an electrical service—will be thus brought within economic range of transmitted energy, and a big step will be taken in the direction of the ultimate complete electrification of the State. Farmers in this wide area are already inquiring into the possibilities of service, and there seems little reason to doubt that before many years have passed numberless electrified farms throughout Victoria will bear witness to the benefits accruing from the establishment of the State-owned scheme of electricity supply.
Next in importance to the generation of electricity is the manufacture of briquettes, in which dried and compressed form the calorific, or heating, value of the brown coal is increased nearly three-fold—from 3,200 British thermal units per lb. to about 8,900 British thermal units per lb.
The coal contains about 63 per cent, of moisture, as delivered to the factory. It is there crushed and separated into two portions of finer and coarser grain respectively. The former, of which the maximum grain is about one-third of an inch in diameter, is automatically conveyed to steam-heated driers, then cooled and made into briquettes. The latter, which is from one-third of an inch to two inches in diameter, is fired under the boilers, which provide steam for drying the briquetting coal and driving the machinery. During the drying process about 90 per cent, of the water in the coal is evaporated, and the finished briquette contains about 13 per cent, of moisture.
The briquettes are produced (without the need of a binding agent) at a pressure of eight tens to the square inch, and emerge from the presses in solid blocks of uniform size, shape and quality, and with a shining glazed surface that makes them perfectly clean to handle. They are 10 inches long, about inches deep, and l-§ to 2 inches wide, with the sides indented so that they may break readily into two pieces for domestic use and four pieces for industrial use. Still smaller briquettes are, when required, provided for special industrial purposes.
The cleanliness, convenience, calorific value, and small ash residue of briquettes combine to make them very popular for domestic use, especially as the price compares favourably with those of other classes of fuel. Briquettes are also steadily making their way in the industrial market, in competition with other fuel. The appreciable progress made in this latter direction is, however, to be taken only as an indication of future possibilities. As at present constituted, the factory is not on a full commercial basis, being what is known as a "half," or experimental, factory. Losses have accrued, but these may be regarded as initial, and incidental to the development of the industry and the market. They will be overtaken just as surely as the public policy of makinq the State as independent as possible of outside sources of fuel supply will be realised. They are offset already by the savings to consumers, the fixation by the Commission of the retail prices of briquettes having the effect of stabilising the fuel market.
Direct savings may be confidently anticipated in the future, it having been decided to treble the output at a capital cost rather more than that of the original outlay on the factory. Each ton of briquettes produced will then have to bear a far less proportion of capital and other charges, while the cost of coal-winning will also be spread Factory Exten- over a much larger tonnage. In these circumstances, it is certain that the Commission will be able to supply
sions and their heat in briquettes at a price which will command a ready sale of the whole of the trebled output. IndusEffect on Prices. trialists are taking stock of the position, and are availing themselves of the expert advice made available
by the Commission, not only in adapting boilers to burn briquettes, but in ensuring that new installations shall be suited to the use of this class of fuel.
A commencement has already been made with the factory extensions, which are expected to be completed in 1930, when
the present output of about 450 tons of briquettes per day will be increased to about 1,200 tons per day. Included in the new
plant will be six steam driers, each of 17,200 square feet heating surface, three twin 10-inch presses, two three-stamp presses of a new type to make very small "block” or "dice” briquettes, and a boiler plant to produce 180,000 lbs. of steam per hour at a pressure of 615 lb. absolute and a temperature of 750° F. The generation of electricity at the factory, which is a by-product of the drying process, will be increased from about 1,400 kw. (the present output) to about 10,000 kw., for which purpose two 10,000kw. back-pressure turbo-generators (one a spare) are also being installed.
The Briquetting Factory is the more interesting because of the fact that it is the only one of its kind south of the equator.
It started producing in November, 1924, with three crushing systems, six tubular steam driers each of 10,300 square feet heating
surface, and five steam-driven 10-inch briquette presses. Four Babcock 6 Wilcox water-tube boilers, each of The Factory and 4.510 square feet heating surface, and one boiler 9,500 square feet heating surface raise steam at 275 lb.
its Operations. absolute and 650° F. Recently three addilional steam presses and a fifth boiler of 5000 sq. ft. heating
surface were installed. The normal output of steam is about 100,000 lb. per hour; of this about two-thirds gees to a back-pressure turbine and the remainder to the steam presses and feed pumps. The exhaust steam from all these machines passes at about 55 lbs. pressure absolute to the steam driers, and after condensing therein is returned to the pump house for boiler feed.
Coal is received at the extreme south end of the plant from a rope haulage fed from the main haulage at a transfer bunker about 4,800 feet distant. It is then conveyed by a 40-inch belt in two stages—first to the boiler house tower, a distance of about 200 feet, thence to the wet preparation house a further 130 feet. The wet preparation plant reduces and screens the coal to the two grades for briquettes and boiler fuel. Boiler coal can be diverted also to the boiler house without passing through the wet preparation section. The fine coal passes by a belt conveyor to storage bins above the driers.
After passing through the tubes of the driers, where it is steam-heated by exhaust steam from the presses and from the 1,500-kw. turbo-generator, the coal is conveyed by enclosed worm conveyors to the cooling plant, wherein the coal, during a slow descent through parallel sets of staggered steel plate louvres, is thoroughly mixed, cooled by exposure to the air, and then conveyed to the press house. Here it is distributed over the presses, which extrude briquettes therefrom into steel launders, along which the presses "push-convey” the briquettes automatically to the storage shed, about 260 feet further north, to be there dropped direct into the railway trucks or stored under cover in the storage shed. As a briquette is manufactured and leaves a press one drops from the end of the launder into trucks or storage. The presses weigh about 50 tons and the driers about 60 tons each. Each press consumes about 150 h.p. run at about 100 r.p.m., and produces 80 to 90 tons of briquettes per 24 hours.
Special care has to be taken to prevent fine dust escaping into the factory buildings or the atmosphere. Each drier has a separate flue for the discharge of water vapour, hot air, and fine dust. As first erected, each flue had a dry baffle wheel and an exhaust fan with water spray, but these have been replaced by electrical precipitation plant, which effects a much higher saving of dried coal, mitigates dust nuisance, and economises water consumption.
In the basement of the turbine house plant is installed to de-superheat the exhaust steam from the turbine to saturated steam temperature before it passes to the driers. Provision is made also for reducing steam taken straight from the boilers to saturated steam temperature at the pressure of 2 to 3 atmospheres used in the driers.
Adjuncts to the factory are a grinding shop, with special grinding plant for preparation and maintenance of press liners, a workshop with a number of machine tools, a smithy, store, and offices. Sewered sanitary blocks and baths are available for all employees.
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The lay-out of the briquetting works at Yallourn is such that they can be conveniently extended to produce about 4,000 tons of briquettes a day, with every convenience for receiving and handling the coal and for discharging the briquettes produced into the main State railway system.
Sales of briquettes have steadily increased since the operation of the factory three years ago. This is clearly evidenced by
the following sales figures:—
1925 .............. 73.597 tons
Present Prices 1926 .............. 85,78! „
of Briquettes. 1927 .............. 104,165 „
The price at which briquettes are sold to domestic consumers is £2/11/- per ton, delivered free in houses anywhere in the metropolitan area. The rate to industrial consumers is, of course, lower, and varies according to the quantities taken and also to the period of the year in which supplies are most required. Rates vary from 35/- to 40/- per ton delivered into bunkers.
Briquetting Factory, Yallourn. Its output is 400 tons a day, which will be increased to 1,200 tons a day in 1930, when extensions now being made will be completed. The Factory chimney, one of the tallest in the world, is 330 feet high.
Conveying Coal from the open cut to Briquetting Factory. The haulage is nearly a mile long.
Delivering the Coal to the Briquetting Factory. One of an endless procession of rope-hauled, self-opening, and self-closing trucks. The Coal is taken from the bunke r to the factory by a belt conveyor (shown on the left.)
The town of Yallourn is probably unique amongst mining centres the world over, because from first to last it conforms to a preconceived and carefully designed housing scheme, which aims at putting into effect modern town-planning ideals. Individual predilections and limitations have, therefore, been eliminated, and with them the "shacks" and other inferior The Model Town and unsighdy habitations, as well as shops, which usually mark the first stage of a mining town's development, of Yallourn. and which in many cases unfortunately survive as permanent disfigurements. As far as the Southern
Hemisphere is concerned, Yallourn is the only town of any size which has been laid out in accordance with modern town-planning ideas.
Yallourn is about five miles from Morwell. From Melbourne it is 87 miles by train, 90 miles by road, and 110 miles via the high tension transmission line. Its main entrance, off the Prince’s Highway, is a broad metalled drive through tall timber. The town is practically out of sight and sound of the works, the Commission s purpose being to make it a garden town—a real haven, into which the noise and turmoil of machinery shall not intrude. Its population at the present time is approximately 1,500, all of whom reside in dwellings designed, erected, and controlled by the Commission. The dwellings range in size from four to eight rooms, the greatest number being of five rooms each, which are the most suited to the domestic requirements of the average married employee.
About half the houses are of brick, the remainder being of wood. The bricks are made at the Yallourn brickworks, which are owned by the Commission, and were operated by it until recently, when they were leased. It has a capacity of 30,000 bricks and 15,000 roofing tiles per day.
The Briquetting Factory, the Power House, Administrative Offices, etc., are all constructed of bricks made at the works. Agricultural drain pipes, gutter bricks, tile ridging, and other accessories are also turned out at the brickworks.
The timber for the weatherboard houses is all of hardwood, the greater part of which has been obtained from mills not fa.-distant from the works, effect thus being given to the Commission’s policy of utilising, as far as possible in the building of the town,
products drawn from the resources of the district or the State. The present design of the town provides for a population of 4,000, which will necessitate about 800 houses. Of these, 400 have either been built already, or are in course of erection, and embrace about sixty different designs. Each building is provided with electric light and power, and water.
All dwellings are leased to employees at rentals only sufficient to cover interest on cost of construction, the maintenance of the premises and the upkeep of the various civic services.
All business activities are concentrated at a town square, which is laid out in a broad sweep of lawn, and from which all the principal thoroughfares radiate. Flanking the square are the banks, the post office, and the Commission’s large departmental store, to which has been added a model butchery, the supplies for which come from the Commission’s abattoirs. In conjunction with the butcher’s shop is an ice-making plant, with a storage capacity of five tons, portion of which will be available for general use by the residents. • .
The whole appearance of the town is both graceful and dignified, the church and public buildings being substantial and
ornamental, the architecture of the dwelling houses varied and pleasing, the private gardens exceedingly well kept, generally
speaking, and the lay-out of the streets designed to avoid monotony. The planting of shade and ornamental trees, propagated at the Commission’s own Yallourn nursery, has been carried out extensively and successfully in streets and reserves, and each year their development will add to the beauty of the town and its surroundings.
Each year finds the town more self-contained. A primary school accommodates 350 pupils, and will shortly require
extension. Sites for a High and Technical Schools are provided. Higher elementary classes have been commenced, and the
building of a Higher Elementary School has been promised by the Education Department in 1928. In the same A Self-contained year there will be added to the town a modern hospital (with accommodation for 26 patients, and equipped Community. with the latest medical appliances and X-ray apparatus), a medical health centre adjacent to the town square
(provided with doctor's consulting room, dental clinic, baby health clinic and dispensary), and a commodious and completely electrified hotel (with accommodation for 45 guests). The Hospital will be built, furnished, and equipped by the Commission, which will then hand it over to the Medical and Hospital Fund Committee, who now administer a fund for
medical services, to which all employees contribute. The Committee will administer and become responsible for the upkeep of the hospital. The services at present provided out of the Medical and Hospital Fund are those of two resident medical officers, a nursing sister, and motor ambulance.
The recreational facilities in the township include tennis-courts, a cricket and football oval, and a golf course. A bowling-green and well-appointed children's playground are also in contemplation. There is an efficient and enthusiastic fire brigade, which is well equipped, and assisted by a splendid water supply.
The water supply system of the township also provides for the whole of the works, including the briquetting factory and power station. The pumping plant is situated on the Latrobe River, and consists of two electrically-driven centrifugal pump units, each to deliver 37,000 gallons per hour against a total head of about 450 feet, through a 10-inch diameter Water Supply. wood-stave rising main to new water basin. One pump is held in reserve, and the other works from eight to fourteen hours a day, varying with the season. There are two concrete lined reservoirs, one a raw water basin of 750,000 gallons capacity, and the other a service reservoir of 1,000,000 gallons capacity.
The raw water basin serves the briquetting factory with unpurified water by means of a direct 8-inch wood-stave main, and also the power station and coal supply area by another 8-inch main. It also acts as a regulating basin to supply a purification plant, which is continuous in its operation. The service reservoir acts as the general clean-water storage. Water for domestic and boiler feed purposes at the briquetting factory is purified by sedimentation after the addition of aluminium sulphate and lime. This method gives excellent results. The township reticulation consists of 3-in., 4-in., and 6-in. pipes, mostly of cast iron.
Victoria’s national scheme of electricity supply has been on a revenue-earning basis for not quite four years. At the present time the whole undertaking represents a capital investment of about £11,500,000, spread over electric supply, coal-winning, briquetting, etc. The financial prospects of the Briquetting Branch are dealt with elsewhere, and the review Paying Its Way. now being made solely concerns the electrical side of the Commission's operations. Interest was charged during the barren period of construction; losses accumulated during the period of development, and interest on these accumulations of interest and deficits has also been charged. However, during the quarter ended September, 1927, all these accumulated burdens were overtaken, and in addition adequate provision was made for depreciation. In other words, the electric supply business had begun to pay its way, and it has continued to earn profits ever since. Its annual revenue is approaching £1,230,000. It would be hard indeed to fix the future limits of progress, because the people of the State are just awakening to a realisation of the wonderful value of electricity in the home.
The State Electricity Commission Act 1920 imposes upon the Commission the statutory duty and obligation of controlling the rates chargeable by any undertaker whom it supplies in bulk. This provision is designed to ensure uniformity of charges and jar-gs administration, particularly in respect of public supply authorities, who may be expected to conform to the
policy underlying the State scheme, of making electricity available to all classes of consumers at cost, or as near thereto as practicable. Acting under its powers of price control the Commission took definite action in 1927 to apply its standard tariffs to the whole of the metropolitan municipal undertakings, with the result that these tariffs are now available to metropolitan consumers as alternative or optional tariffs to those included in the old schedules. In this way, it will be possible for the consumers to reap the benefits of the savings effected by the operations of the State power houses.
The Commission s standard tariffs are based on uniform principles, which have regard to the economics of supply, and apply throughout all the areas directly served and controlled by the Commission, variations in the country districts being governed by distance and population, i.e., the cost of giving service and the extent of the demand.
A two-part domestic tariff forms an important part of these tariffs. It is composed of a service charge of so much per
room, and an energy charge of so much for the electricity actually consumed. In the metropolitan area, the service charge is 1/- per room, and the energy charge ljd. per unit, which encourages the installation of all kinds of labor-saving electrical devices in the home by making the extended use of energy economical. Supply authorities in all parts of the world are agreed that there should
be a two-part domestic tariff, so that the cost of providing the service shall be paid, otherwise the consumer who makes a negligible
use of electricity obtains his supply below cost, and at the expense of the one who uses an appreciable quantity of current, because under the block rate system of charging each unit consumed has to be loaded with all capital charges, etc., so that, apart from the inherent inequity of the system, the extended use of electricity is seriously discouraged.
In the extra-metropolitan and rural areas the charge under the two-part domestic tariff varies from 1/3 per room and l^d.
for current to .2/- per room and l|d. for current, according to distance and population. The full schedule of standard tariffs at
present in force in the metropolitan area is as follows :—
A. —DOMESTIC: For all purposes in dwellings (i.e., light, heat, cooking, power, etc., etc.). Service charge per room per month,
payable quarterly in advance—1/-. And for all energy consumed—l£d. per kw. hr. No meter rent. Passages, pantries, verandahs, porches, and the like not counted as rooms. Minimum—4 rooms.
B. —POWER AND HEATING: (1) Block Rate: Per kw. hr.—For the first 500 kw. hrs. per month, 2d.; for the next 4,500 kw.
hrs. per month, ljd.; for the next 20,000 kw. hrs. per month, 0.9d.; for the balance of consumption during month, 0.8d. (2) Maximum Demand Rate (optional where consumption exceeds 5,000 kw. hr. per month): For every kw. of maximum demand as measured in any month—17/- per month: and for all energy consumed—0.3 per kw. hr. (3) Restricted Hour Rate (optional where the principal consumption takes place as a rule at night): During the hours between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. on the following day, 0.5d. per kw. hr.; during all other hours, 2d. per kw. hr.
C. -—LIGHTING (other than street lighting) : Block Rate : For the first 500 kw. hrs. per month—the same rate per kilowatt hour
for the first block of the lighting tariff as is at present in force in the respective undertakings. For the balance of consumption during month—3d. per kw. hr.
D. —COOKING (other than where provided under A) : ljd. per kw. hr.
E.—WATER HEATING (Continuous)—Optional: Rate alternative to those under B (1 and 3), and A, as follows:—For the continuous heating element of a water heater, a fixed charge of 3/9 per month per 100 watts capacity—payable quarterly in advance.
The Commission's special mandate is to encourage the use of electricity, particularly for industrial and manufacturing purposes. This can only be achieved by equitable and attractive tariffs. The remarkable increase in the consumption of electricity since its advent, and the sustained growth of the demand, afford the best proofs of the equity of the tariffs which have been introduced.
Increased consumption means that the annual costs are spread over a greater number of units. The existing distribution system can carry the increased loading without any increment of cost, generally speaking, and any additional installation of generating plant that may be needed to satisfy the growing public demands for power must of necessity be Future Prospects. profitable investments, as they will be simply for the purpose of keeping abreast of actual requirements. The scheme is not a profit-earning organisation, however. Its success is to be measured by the electrical development of the State, and the facilities afforded to industrialists, householders, and farmers for the extended and economical use of
electrical energy. The financial stability of the undertaking has been established: in less than four years it has ceased to be any
burden on State funds. Its national nature and importance become emphasised as its operations are extended further and further into rural areas. It is consolidating and concentrating the business of electrical generation in Victoria, and is supplying energy in quantities and at prices which could not be attempted by local or individual undertakings. Taking past progress and future prospects as guides, it is not venturing too far to predict the possibility of extensions and ultimate price levels that will further
promote the welfare of Victoria and make it an outstanding example of the benefits of a super-scheme of national electrification.
On the question of the power facilities available, the Commission is receiving an increasing number of inquiries from
overseas manufacturers who are investigating the advantages of commencing operations in Victoria. The Commission has been
able to give the inquirers much valuable information on the subject, and is always pleased to have the opportunity of making
manufacturers, whether local or overseas, conversant with all the facts of the case.
The growing demand for electricity is world-wide, and in common with every other country in the world possessing large and comprehensive systems of supply Victoria must lay its plans well in advance of actual requirements, so that the possibility of a power shortage occurring at any time shall be rendered as remote as careful estimating, based on actual Planning for experience and statistics, can make it.
the Future. As proof of this necessity, it need only be pointed out that the consumption of electricity in the
metropolitan area alone (exclusive of railways) has increased since the Commission’s advent by over 100 per cent., or 160,000,000 units, per annum, with a corresponding increase in country centres, the number of which coming on to the State system is increasing year by year.
A programme has been prepared by the Commission, and approved by Parliament, making due provision of additional generating plant to serve the public requirements up to and including 1930. In this programme it is estimated that the existing plant would reach full load during the winter of 1927; that the Sugarloaf-Rubicon Hydro-Electric scheme will serve the normal increment of load in 1928-29, and that the additional demands during 1929 will be catered for by the installation of a 15,000 kw. turbo-generator at the Richmond power station, taken over from the Melbourne Electric Supply Company Ltd., by whom it was operated as a single phase station. The estimates of growth of demand were actually exceeded last winter, necessitating the provision of an extra 12,500 kw. turbo-generator at Yallourn, in order to obviate the possibility of a power shortage in 1928, the progressive provision previously authorised being designed to serve only the normal anticipated increment of load during 1928-29. In 1930, therefore, the normal output of the Commission's plants will be 102,500 kilowatts, made up as follows:—
Newport "B”...................................... 16,000
Sugarloaf-Rubicon Scheme............................ 11,500
or approximately 134,000 horse-power.
Plans must now be prepared for meeting the demands of the public for power in 1931, when it is estimated that the installations set out in the foregoing table will fall short of requirements by 16,500 kws. It is generally accepted that the first unit of any new installation to provide for 1931 and immediately beyond shall be not less than 25,000 kilowatts, with provision for successive installations of two other sets of similar size, so that, when complete, the plant shall have an installed capacity of 75,000 kilowatts, giving a normal output of 50,000 kilowatts, which, it is estimated, will meet the requirements up to and including the winter of 1934. As distinctly the most economical of a great many alternatives examined, the Commission has decided to recommend to the Government that the new plant shall be located at Yallourn, burning raw run of mine coal on grates. It may be added that the exhaustive examination of all possible alternatives made by the Commission has thoroughly vindicated the wisdom of the original selection of Yallourn as the basis of Victoria's national system of electricity supply.
Included in the scheme, as a matter of course, is the duplication of the main transmission line from Yallourn to Yarraville. For the sake of security of supply this work would probably require to be undertaken shortly in any case, as under present circumstances the line is frequently called upon to carry very heavy loads, and the installation of an additional generator in the existing power station at Yallourn will only serve to increase the loading. This line has been in operation for about four years, during which time it has functioned without a single serious interruption.
The Merchandising of Domestic Electrical Apparatus is amongst the Activities of the Commission, and well-equipped Show and Demonstration Rooms have been established at some of its Main Centres. The above is
the Show Room at Sale, Gippsland.
SUMMARY OP PRINCIPAL EVENTS.
1917. Report of Advisory Committee on Brown Coal Utilisation (Messrs. P. W. Clements, H. R. Harper, W. Stone,
September— H. Herman) presented to Parliament.
1919. Electricity Commissioners Act 1918 No. 2996 passed. Members of Commission appointed under Act:_Prof.
January— T. R. Lyle (Chairman). Hon. George Swinburne, Mr. Alex. McKinstry.
July— Mr. A. McKinstry resigned as Commissioner, and Mr. (afterwards Sir) Robert Gibson appointed in his place.
November— Commissioners’ Report, recommending establishment of 50,000 kw. power station at Yallourn, presented to
Parliament and approved. .
October— Lieut.-General Sir John Monash, G.C.M.G., K.C.B., V.D., D.C.L., LL.D., appointed General Manager.
December— State Electricity Commission Act 1920 passed, providing, inter alia, for name of State Electricity Commis
sioners to be changed to "The State Electricity Commission of Victoria."
January— Lieut.-General Sir John Monash appointed Chairman of the Commission.
February— Actual construction work at Yallourn commenced.
April— Administrative offices at William Street, Melbourne, completed and occupied.
August— Undertaking of North Melbourne Electric Tramways and Lighting Co. acquired by Commission. Tramways
transferred to M. & M.T.B. ; electricity supply taken over by S.E.C.
September— Report on Sugarloaf-Rubicon Hydro-Electric Scheme presented to Government, and approved.
junc— Transmission line to serve Soitth-western District completed.
September— Governmental approval given to erection of 22,000 v. line to serve northern and outer suburban areas.
1924. Newport "B” Station completed and put into operation.
Melbourne Electric Supply Co. Act 1924 passed, extending franchise to 1930.
April— Old Brown Coal Mine transferred from Mines Department to S.E.C.
May— Main transmission line. Yallourn to Yarraville, completed.
Yarraville Terminal Station brought into service.
June— First unit of generating plant at Power Station, Yallourn, brought into operation.
August— Work on amended Sugarloaf-Rubicon Hydro-Electric Scheme commenced.
Erection of North-Eastern transmission line commenced.
January— Two-part domestic tariff introduced into Commission's undertakings.
Briquette Factory completed, and briquettes put on to market.
June— Installation of 50,000 kw. generating plant. Yallourn Power Station, completed.
1926. 66,000 v. line from Thomastown-Wangaratta and 22,000 v. line from Wangaratta to Albury and from Spring-
January— hurst to Corowa completed.
Supply to north-eastern district commenced.
July— Hon. George Swinburne resigned from Commission, and Mr. F. W. Clements appointed to vacancy.
December— Transmission line from Yarraville Terminal Station to Newport completed and put into service.
September— Action taken, resulting in standardisation of Commission's tariffs in the metropolitan area.
March— Lower Rubicon Hydro-electric Power Station completed and brought into operation.
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Head Office, State Electricity Commission of Victoria, 22 William Street, Melbourne.
THE CRAFTSMAN PRESS PTY. LTD 1« LITTLE COLLINS ST.. MELBOURNE