Kuranda Weir Recovery Project

When Tropical Cyclone Jasper crossed the Queensland coast in December 2023, the weather system impacted many North Queensland communities and essential service infrastructure, including CleanCo’s Barron Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station.  

Extremely high water levels in the Barron River caused significant damage to critical infrastructure at the Kuranda Weir which stores water required for power generation. 

As a result, the Barron Gorge Power Station is currently inoperable. 

Kuranda Weir intake infrastructure before and after Tropical Cyclone Jasper.

Recovery

CleanCo has a plan in place to reinstate infrastructure at the Kuranda Weir and get the power station back up and running.  

We are working closely with authorities including the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Department of Resources and the Department of Development, Manufacturing and Water. We are also working alongside Traditional Owners, the Djabugay People, who monitoring the project and providing cultural heritage advice.   

Stage 1 

    • Make the site safe and prepare for construction works. This includes accommodating a crane on site to install the scaffolding and temporary bridge required to inspect and repair the intake structure. 
    • Build a temporary rock wall (coffer dam) to retain water in the weir and enable operations at the power station to resume. This will also allow for the embankment to be reinstated. 

Stage 2 

    • Permanently re-establish the weir embankment to support reliable, long-term operations at the power station. 

Timelines

CleanCo currently anticipates that the temporary rock wall (coffer dam) will enable operations at the Barron Gorge Power Station to resume by June 2024. 

Design and planning for the permanent repairs is currently underway. Once this is finalised, we will update the community with a timeline for the associated construction works. 

It is currently expected that works at the site will continue until late 2024, weather and river conditions permitting. 

Anticipated impacts

The local community may notice increased traffic and heavy haulage during construction. Every effort will be made to minimise noise and traffic impacts for the community. CleanCo will keep the community informed of any significant disruptions or changes to planned works. 

Contact

If you have any concerns or would like more information, please contact CleanCo directly at info@cleancoqld.com.au or complaints@cleancoqld.com.au

Frequently Asked Questions

The Barron Gorge Power Station is located in the Barron Gorge National Park, approximately 20 minutes from Cairns’ CBD. 

The Kuranda Weir, which stores the water required for energy generation at the hydro, is located on the Barron River about 2km from Kuranda town centre. 

Water is captured at and then released from the Kuranda Weir, where it’s diverted underground to the power station. When the water passes through the generators, it makes 66MW of clean energy which is equivalent to powering approximately 70,000 homes.   

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The extreme volume of water in the Barron River caused the level of water in the Kuranda Weir to rise to 6.4m above the weir spillway. This amount of water broke the banks of the weir and washed out the ground around the intake structure. The damage means water cannot safely or efficiently be diverted for power generation downstream at the Barron Gorge Power Station. 

The Barron Gorge Power Station site also sustained some relatively minor damage. The turbine generators and other machinery were not impacted. 

The Kuranda Weir Recovery Project will be carried out in two major stages.  

Stage 1 is now underway and involves the construction of a temporary rock wall (coffer dam) to divert water to allow the power station to recommence operations. It will also enable access to reinstate the embankment.  

Stage 2 stage involves the construction of the embankment to return the weir to its original operating state.  

CleanCo intends to build to a standard that will support an expected service life of at least 40 years.