Battery of the Nation FAQs

What is the Battery of the Nation initiative?

In April 2017, the Prime Minister and Tasmanian Premier expressed support for studies into projects that would boost Tasmania’s energy generation. Their announcement focused on boosting Tasmania’s clean energy capacity.

The Battery of the Nation initiative is about investigating and developing a pathway of future development opportunities for Tasmania to make a greater contribution to the National Electricity Market (or NEM).

Battery of the Nation is not a Hydro Tasmania initiative; it’s a Tasmanian initiative. It’s designed to serve and support our communities, and will involve opportunities and contributions from right across the renewable energy sector.

More interconnection makes all of this viable - allowing Tasmania to get its product to market. Even with the cost of developing further interconnection, our analysis confirms Battery of the Nation is a front-runner that’s extremely competitive and cost-effective.
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Why is it important to Tasmania?
Battery of the Nation is about locking in our island’s energy security and giving Tasmanians the lowest possible power prices. It offers a future that’s clean, reliable and affordable.

Modelling shows Battery of the Nation would create billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs in regional Tasmania over 10 to 15 years.

The outcomes of our initial studies further strengthen the case for more interconnection across Bass Strait, which would also unlock Tasmania’s untapped wind energy potential. 
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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 three areas …

What is the Future State NEM analysis?

With the Australian energy market changing rapidly, our modelling and analysis is focused on better understanding what the future could look like and the role Tasmania could play.

The stage 1 Future State NEM analysis shows that Tasmania has clear advantages that can make a significant contribution to the NEM’s transformation over the next two decades. It confirms Battery of the Nation is an extremely viable and cost-competitive option for supporting Australia’s future energy needs.

In following up the Future State NEM analysis, Hydro Tasmania will work closely with TasNetworks, AEMO and other key stakeholders on the next stage of analysis.

What is the pumped hydro assessment?

Hydro Tasmania is assessing potential pumped hydro opportunities in Tasmania, to significantly boost the state’s hydropower capacity. We have identified 14 options as the state’s best pumped hydro storage opportunities.

Hydro Tasmania will now investigate the 14 options in detail, to narrow them down to a smaller number of sites, equivalent to about 2500 megawatts of potential. We held community information sessions at locations close to a potential site during July and August, to hear from these communities and share information about the project.

Visit our Tasmanian pumped hydro project page for more details and the findings of our recent study. Learn more >

Why do we need pumped hydro?

More than 70% 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 means energy storage will be crucial in the future, to help balance energy in the system and ensure it is available when consumers need it.

Tasmania has natural advantages in developing pumped hydro because we have existing assets and storages, just waiting for the ‘add on’.
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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.

There is potential for development of new small off-river storages to support pumped hydro schemes.

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.

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 Power Scheme. Hydro Tasmania is assessing redevelopment options, taking into consideration what role the station and scheme could play in an energy supply system that is very different to what we have now.

Through its Advancing Renewables Program, ARENA funded a pre-feasibility study, looking at how the hydropower scheme might be repurposed for a future energy market.
This study recommended a full feasibility study to assess risks and benefits of scheme redevelopment in comparison to progressive refurbishment.

ARENA has now provided $2.5 million, matched by Hydro Tasmania, for a feasibility assessment into upgrading or replacing the Tarraleah Power Station. Feasibility work into the preferred option (upgrade or replace) is expected to take about 18 months.

How long will the studies take?

Hydro Tasmania has completed the first round of investigation into how Tasmania can tap into its renewable energy potential. 

The outcomes of our pumped hydro concept study and the first stage Future State NEM analysis are now available. The findings demonstrate that Tasmania can make a significant contribution to the transformation of the NEM in coming years. It further strengthens the case for more interconnection across Bass Strait, which would also unlock Tasmania’s untapped wind energy potential.

Find out more about the exciting clean energy potential for Tasmania.

Find out more about the pumped hydro opportunity in Tasmania.

Find out more about hydropower optimisation.

How can I contribute to the studies?

We welcome views from the Tasmanian community and will continue to keep you informed as studies progress. 

Now that we’ve announced more detail about pumped hydro options, regional community information sessions were held around the state. Information about the Battery of the Nation initiative and our pumped hydro studies was shared, and local residents also had the opportunity to meet the project team. 

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 Project Marinus?

The Tasmanian and Federal Governments have committed to pursuing the next stage of a business case for further Bass Strait interconnection. This has been called Project Marinus and is being led by TasNetworks.

The Battery of the Nation study outcomes released by Hydro Tasmania in June  further strengthen the case for more interconnection across Bass Strait, which would also unlock Tasmania’s untapped wind energy potential.
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What is ARENA?

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) works to accelerate Australia’s shift to an affordable and reliable renewable energy future and was created by the Australian Government in 2012.

ARENA funds projects that advance renewable energy technologies along the innovation chain, from the early research stage in the lab to the demonstration stage in the field.

ARENA’s job is to bring the best ideas to life and share the knowledge gained to unlock the potential of Australia’s vast renewable resources.

“Our funding, knowledge and networks can help bridge the gap between innovation and commercialisation, helping accelerating Australia’s renewable energy future.”

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 now provided $2.5 million, matched by Hydro Tasmania, for a feasibility assessment into upgrading or replacing the Tarraleah Power Station. 

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.

© Hydro-Electric Corporation 2019