Hydro system improvement



Getting the most out of our existing hydropower generation is a key part of the Battery of the Nation initiative. The flagship project we’ve assessed is one of Tasmania’s oldest hydropower schemes. The Tarraleah scheme in the Central Highlands was commissioned in the 1930s and produces around 630 gigawatt hours of energy each year (or 6.5%) of Hydro Tasmania’s total production.

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.

We're aligning our investment and development pathway to the development timeline and progress of Marinus Link, with Tarraleah aligned to the first 750MW Marinus Link cable.

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.

ARENA also funded an earlier 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.

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 - Repurposing hydropower assets for future market.

More about the reimagining of Tarraleah

We’ve put together more information about the Tarraleah feasibility assessment process and what we’ve looked at during the study.

Can I provide feedback?

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

We welcome your suggestions on the best way to provide project updates or for you to contact us with questions you may have.

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Gordon Power Station

This station is our largest. To maintain environmental flows to the Gordon River, we are currently running an existing large turbine at low load, which is not efficient.

We have investigated a solution to more efficiently generate power from the environmental water flow released to the Gordon River using a smaller turbine designed for these flows.

Our feasibility study demonstrates that the addition of a smaller turbine is both technically and commercially feasible. Implementation of the project would bring a number of benefits including:

  • assist in prolonging asset life by running the existing turbines more efficiently
  • increasing annual energy generation from the same amount of water released.

The project has been prioritised against other business capital expenditure needs and will not be proceeding to implementation at this stage. However, the future market is changing. Hydro Tasmania will continue to monitor the market for changes that may further improve the value of the project and trigger a review of current capital expenditure priorities.

If you’d like to know more, we’ve prepared a report on the outcomes of the feasibility study which you can download from the link below.

Gordon Power Station Feasibility Study Knowledge Sharing Report

Improving the hydropower system

In addition to these projects, we are continuing major refurbishment and upgrade works around the state that support Hydro Tasmania's work as part of Battery of the Nation.

Asset upgrades will also be vital to boosting generation and efficiency.