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).

More interconnection makes all of this viable - allowing Tasmania to get its product to market. It will unlock Tasmania’s full renewable energy potential, providing clean, reliable and affordable energy to support a resilient future energy market.

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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.

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

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. We have revealed the three sites selected for further investigation into their pumped hydro potential.

The three sites - at Lake Cethana and Lake Rowallan in the North West, and near Tribute Power Station on the West Coast – were selected from the original list of 14 potential pumped hydro options around the State.

They emerged as the most promising from the studies carried out over the last 20 months as part of a $2.0 million study jointly funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Hydro Tasmania. 

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.

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

There are no new water storages for the Tribute option. This option would use existing lakes – Lake Plimsoll and Lake Murchison – and link them. 

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 can I contribute to the studies?

We welcome views from the Tasmanian community and will continue to keep you informed as studies progress. We will continue to hold regional community information sessions around the state. These give us the opportunity to share Information about the Battery of the Nation initiative and our pumped hydro studies and for local residents to have 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?

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, is considering a new interconnector known as Marinus Link and its supporting transmission. Access the website here >>

The project received $20m in funding support from the Tasmanian Government through TasNetworks and the Commonwealth Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

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