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Queensland Hydro seeks dam designer for Borumba pumped-storage project

Queensland Hydro has opened a tender for the detailed design of the dams planned as part of its 2000 MW Borumba pumped-storage hydropower project in Australia’s northeastern state. Request for Proposals (RFPs) are invited from interested proponents by 29 March 2024.

The successful bidder will partner with Queensland Hydro to progress the designs of the upper and lower reservoirs and assist in engaging dam construction partners, and will then work collaboratively with Queensland Hydro and the respective dam construction partners to deliver the reservoirs, hence locally based design resources will be required, according to a procurement notice published on 12 February.

The tender requires the dam designer to provide their understanding, approach and corresponding price for undertaking the scope of works for either the lower or upper reservoirs (or both), totalling seven dam structures and appurtenant works (excluding power waterways). The project is currently designed to include a new dam to replace the existing Borumba Dam at Lake Borumba and expand the lower reservoir, and six dams to form an upper reservoir. Bidders should consider their experience in the design of RCC and CFRD dam types, ability to demonstrate resourcing capacity to delivery this number of dams and preparation of dam safety management systems.

The proposed scheme at Lake Borumba, in Imbil, southwest of Gympie, would involve building a new upper reservoir and dam, while increasing Lake Borumba’s storage capacity from 46 GL to 224 GL. In June last year, the Government of Queensland announced A$ 6 billion (US$ 3.8 billion) in funding for the estimated A$ 14.2 billion (US$ 9 billion) project, which will allow Queensland Hydro to progress with exploratory works, the environmental impact assessment and detailed engineering. The initiation of the Dams Designer RFP follows the completion of front-end engineering design (FEED) investigations as part of the Detailed Analytical Report (DAR), which was submitted to the Queensland Government in March 2023. “Building on the work conducted during our initial investigations, we will be seeking to better understand the geological and geotechnical conditions of the proposed dam locations,” Project Director Leah McKenzie said in an announcement on 14 February. “We’ll be working proactively with the successful design partner/s to ensure the dams meet the highest possible standards for safety, environmental protection and reliability,” she said, stressing that construction work would not begin without environmental approvals in place.

McKenzie also highlighted the significant opportunities for local businesses and suppliers. “The Borumba Pumped Hydro Project will be a game-changer for the state, and Queensland Hydro are committed to engaging with local and Indigenous businesses. Due consideration of local benefits will be undertaken as part of the assessment of RFP responses. “We’ve been working with industry to ensure we can attract the best partners for the project while creating real opportunities for local and indigenous businesses. We’re adopting best practice principles and local benefits test from the Queensland Procurement Policy 2023, which includes provision of apprenticeship and training opportunities, and a commitment to local buying and local job creation.” Local or Indigenous businesses interested in collaborating with the principal contractor/s are encouraged to explore the suppliers page for further information.

Interested suppliers should apply via the QTender portal at https://qtenders.epw.qld.gov.au/ by searching for CONBUR0358RFPReg. For further information, contact the Transaction Manager at Queensland Hydro at damsdesignertransactionmanager@qldhydro.com.au.

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