Supporting Australia’s energy transition

Tarraleah Power Station
20 April 2017

Hydro Tasmania today welcomed the announcement of plans to investigate the expansion of Tasmania’s hydropower system, and said Tasmania is uniquely placed to help lead Australia through its energy challenges.

The Prime Minister and Tasmanian Premier today expressed support for studies into projects that would boost Tasmania’s energy generation, including a significant redevelopment of the Tarraleah hydropower scheme.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is in the process of assessing applications from Hydro Tasmania to support feasibility work into redeveloping the Tarraleah scheme and enhancing Gordon Power Station. It’s also considering an application to explore the utility of several new pumped hydro energy storage schemes that could deliver up to 2500MW of pumped hydro capacity.

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, make the announcement with Hydro Tasmania CEO, Steve Davy.

“These proposals are an exciting product of discussions we’re having with the Tasmanian and Federal Governments on ways to boost Tasmania’s renewable energy generation and contribution to the National Electricity Market (NEM),” said Hydro Tasmania's CEO Steve Davy.

“We’ve discussed upgrading and adding to Tasmania’s hydropower network, as well as the potential for new private wind farm development and pumped storage opportunities.

“Hydro Tasmania has the skills, experience and passion to help lead Australia through the challenging transition.

“We have nation-leading expertise in integrating renewable energy into the grid in a stable and affordable way. We’ve done that innovatively and successfully in Tasmania, and it’s the very challenge mainland Australia is starting to grapple with,” Mr Davy said.

The studies would include investigation of replacing one of Tasmania’s oldest operating power stations at Tarraleah in the Central Highlands.

The Tarraleah Power Station was commissioned in 1938 and produces about 550GWh of renewable energy each year - about six per cent of Hydro Tasmania’s total production.

The Tarraleah replacement proposal would extend the station’s operating life by 80 years, and involve constructing a 17-kilometre long underground tunnel from Lake King William.

The redevelopment would be the first time Hydro Tasmania has completely replaced one of its major stations. The existing station would require significant investment in refurbishment to continue operating effectively.

The feasibility study will also explore the opportunity of adding pumped hydro capability to Tarraleah.

The redevelopment of Tarraleah would boost renewable production by up to 210 gigawatt hours each year.

Gordon is the largest power station in Tasmania, and the only station on the Gordon/Pedder scheme. The station was commissioned in 1977 with two turbines. A third turbine was commissioned in 1988. The study includes investigation of adding an additional small turbine at Gordon to improve efficiency.

TasNetworks has welcomed today's announcement to further investigate ways to maximise Tasmania's Hydro energy potential. 

“Further on-island development of our generation capacity will require TasNetworks to provide the transmission system to support this and we look forward to contributing to the prefeasibility works as part of the next stage," said TasNetworks CEO, Lance Balcombe.

Ends.

Released for Hydro Tasmania by Rowan Dix, (03) 62305330 / 0409 722359 / media@hydro.com.au.