Tropical Hydro Electricity



Sitiuated just 15 minutes from BTP's Cairns office the Barron Gorge Hydro Electric Power Plant in Cairns is one of three hydroelectric power stations in Far North Queensland. With water sourced from the Barron River to produce electricity before releasing the water back into the river.


The plant uses the Kuranda weir as a regulating pool for the hydro. Water is captured at the weir and then transported underground to the 66 MW Hydro at Barron Gorge.


When required additional water can be sourced from Tinaroo Dam on the Tablelands.




The plant boasts two 33 MW generators and their quick start ability ensures a secure and reliable energy supply. Due to its position in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area the plant must meet strict environmental standards and as a result all the water that is returned flows back in pristine condition. The plant does not emit any greenhouse gases and is an accredited green generator.


In 2003 a $29 million strategic plan was put in place by Stanwell to extend the life of the plant to 2055. Phase One was completed in 2006 and included a mid-life refit which included an upgrade to the majority of the originally installed plant. Phase Two included the refurbishment of both hydro generators. Unit 1 generator rewind was completed in 2010 and Unit 2 work completed in 2011.


While improving the reliability and efficiency of the plant the maximum electrical output was also increased by 10%.