Battery of the Nation FAQs

What is the Battery of the Nation?

Tasmania has significant potential in the future development of wind and hydropower, coupled with more transmission and interconnection. Tasmania could make a much greater contribution to the National Electricity Market (NEM), delivering more clean, reliable and affordable energy.

Battery of the Nation is about developing a pathway of future opportunities in hydropower system expansion including pumped hydro. Hydro Tasmania is leading work on hydropower system improvements, new pumped hydro opportunities and future market analysis.

More interconnection will unlock Tasmania’s full renewable energy potential to support a resilient future energy market.

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Why is it important to Tasmania?

More interconnection will unlock Tasmania’s renewable energy opportunities, which will deliver benefits to the state including locking in our island’s energy security, giving Tasmanians the lowest possible power prices and delivering much needed jobs and economic investment to regional parts of the state.

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What projects are you working on?

With the support of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), we are advancing studies into:

What is the Future State NEM analysis?

Australia’s energy market is changing rapidly. Our modelling and analysis has focused on better understanding what the future could look like and the role Tasmania could play.

We’ve shown that Tasmania can make a significant contribution to the NEM’s transformation over the next two decades, and Battery of the Nation is a cost-competitive option for supporting Australia’s future energy needs.

Hydro Tasmania has released further analysis on future market design and Battery of the Nation. 

Our white papers, jointly funded with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), take a close look at future modelling and design of the energy market, unlocking investment in much-needed storage and how deep storage is the optimal, least-cost choice to manage future uncertainty during this transition.

You can access the white papers here.

Deep storage and its role in a future energy market: As Australia’s transition to a greater penetration of renewables ramps up, our analysis examines the role of storage in supporting a reliable, resilient future energy market and shows that Tasmania’s clean energy stacks up as very cost competitive, further validating the case for an expansion of Tasmania’s hydropower system. Download the report here.

Working together to achieve a clean energy future: New analysis from Hydro Tasmania shows the Battery of the Nation initiative offers significant potential for Tasmania and Victoria to work together to achieve an affordable, reliable clean energy future. Download the report here.

Benefits of more interconnection: Analysis released by Hydro Tasmania demonstrates that additional Bass Strait interconnection would immediately unlock many hundreds of megawatts of latent dispatchable capacity in the Tasmanian hydropower system, and make it available to a transforming National Electricity Market (NEM). Download the report here.

What is the pumped hydro assessment?

Hydro Tasmania is assessing potential pumped hydro opportunities in Tasmania, to significantly boost the state’s hydropower capacity.

Opportunities at Lake Cethana and Lake Rowallan in Tasmania’s North West and near Tribute Power Station on the West Coast have been assessed on a range of technical, environmental, social and economic factors as part of Hydro Tasmania’s pumped hydro feasibility study.

Lake Cethana has been selected as Hydro Tasmania’s preferred site of its top three Tasmanian pumped hydro opportunities and it will now progress to final feasibility.

Thank you to everyone who attended our community drop-in sessions held in Sheffield, Moina and Lorinna in February. Our pumped hydro team enjoyed chatting with local residents about the project and sharing more information on our study progress and next steps.

Visit our Tasmanian pumped hydro project page for more details. Learn more >

Why do we need pumped hydro?

Much of Australia’s power currently comes from coal-fired power stations that are likely to close in the next few decades. Wind and solar are becoming the dominant sources of new energy but they are variable. That simply means the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.

Energy storage will be crucial in the future, to help fill the gaps when wind and solar aren’t available and ensure power is available when consumers need it.

The National Electricity Market will need a portfolio of varying storage technologies to manage grid reliability, stability and affordability as the market transitions over the coming decades.

Market modelling points to a growing need for deep storages in the future energy system, driven by increasing penetration of variable renewable energy sources like wind and solar. This includes our own modelling and analysis from AEMO, TasNetworks and the International Energy Agency.

Deep storage (12+ hours) can provide cost-competitive, reliable back-up to efficiently support Australia’s energy transformation as wind and solar become more prevalent. It is more resilient to future market uncertainty, being able to supply energy for days at a time if needed, to ensure the stable and reliable electricity that customers expect.

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Are you considering projects in the World Heritage Area?

No. We have excluded environmentally sensitive areas including the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) and National Parks from our pumped hydro energy storage studies. There will be no pumped hydro sites developed in the TWWHA.

Are you planning to dam any more rivers?

No, we are not investigating new on-river dams as part of any potential pumped hydro project.

Lake Cethana uses the existing lake as the lower storage and a new off river upper storage would be constructed. 

What impact might this have on existing water obligations and commitments?

Hydro Tasmania takes its water supply obligations very seriously, and will continue to meet them. Affordable pricing is also very important. Those issues will be considered as part of any pumped hydro evaluation and feedback from interested groups will form part of that evaluation process.

Hydro Tasmania has a strong relationship with Tasmanian irrigators, who play a crucial role in Tasmania’s community and economy. We will liaise with the TFGA, irrigators and other water users to help build their understanding of the project and address any concerns and opportunities as the project progresses.

Hydro Tasmania will also consider and consult on any potential for the pumped hydro initiatives to create opportunities for enhancing the capability of irrigation schemes and any associated benefits for the agricultural sector.

What hydropower system improvements are you assessing?

Our focus is currently on the Tarraleah hydropower scheme, taking into consideration what role the station and scheme could play in a future energy supply system that is very different to what we have now.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided $2.5 million, matched by Hydro Tasmania, for a feasibility study to assess options for reimagining the scheme to deliver more renewable energy, more flexibly in the future. This study demonstrated the technical feasibility of redevelopment. There is potential to transform the scheme's capability to better suit the anticipated needs of the future energy market, by significantly increasing its capacity and making it more flexible and responsive to changes in demand, all valuable requirements in the future electricity market.

In December 2020, the Tasmanian and Australian Governments announced a commitment to identify and refine support mechanisms for Battery of the Nation. This was part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that outlined a path for further progressing Marinus Link and the pumped hydro and hydropower upgrade opportunities that form the Battery of the Nation.

In April 2022, the Federal Government announced a funding commitment of $65M for the Tarraleah hydropower scheme which will bring the exciting vision for its future one step closer.

Together with investment from Hydro Tasmania, the roughly $123M project would assess the commercial viability of developing the scheme and enable upgrade works to commence in coming months that provide flexibility for the scheme's future.

In March 2021, ARENA and Hydro Tasmania released a knowledge sharing report that presents a framework for making hydropower asset management decisions in a future energy market context, using Tarraleah as a case study. You can access the report here.

How can I contribute to the studies?

We welcome views from the Tasmanian community and will continue to keep you informed as studies progress. We welcome your suggestions on the best way to provide project updates or for you to contact us with questions you may have.

What is Marinus Link?

Marinus Link is a proposed 1500 megawatt capacity undersea electricity connection to link Tasmania and Victoria, as part of Australia’s future electricity grid.

The project, being undertaken by TasNetworks, received $20m in funding support from the Tasmanian Government through TasNetworks and the Australian Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). It was confirmed as an ‘actionable’ project in the 2020 Integrated System Plan released by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and was also identified by the Australian Government as a national infrastructure priority project.

What is ARENA?

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has a purpose to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy through innovation that benefits Australian consumers and businesses.

Since 2012, ARENA has supported 566 projects with $1.63 billion in grant funding, unlocking a total investment of almost $6.69 billion in Australia’s renewable energy industry.

What is ARENA providing funding for?

ARENA has approved $2.5 million in funding for the Battery of the Nation initiative under its Advancing Renewables Program.

ARENA has also provided $2.5 million, matched by Hydro Tasmania, for a feasibility assessment into reimagining the Tarraleah hydropower scheme. 

What is the NEM?

The National Electricity Market (NEM) operates on one of the world’s longest interconnected power systems, stretching from Port Douglas in Queensland to Port Lincoln in South Australia and across the Bass Strait to Tasmania – a distance of around 5000 kilometres. The NEM supplies around 9 million customers. It supplies about 200 terawatt hours of electricity to businesses and households each year.

The NEM’s transmission network carries power from electricity generators to large industrial energy users and local electricity distributors across five states (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania), which deliver it to homes and businesses. These assets are owned and operated by state governments, or private businesses.

The illustration below, produced by AEMO, shows how the transport of electricity works from generator to consumer.

Transport of Electricity AEMO

Find out more in the Introduction to the National Electricity Market fact sheet which has been produced by AEMO. You can also find out more about the NEM by visiting AEMO's website.