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’re currently assessing focuses on 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.

With the support of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), we’re assessing options for reimagining the scheme to deliver more renewable energy, more flexibly in the future.

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.

The next steps

ARENA has now provided $2.5 million, matched by Hydro Tasmania, for a feasibility assessment which will assess options for either refurbishing the existing Tarraleah Power Station and scheme or replacing it with a new scheme.

The proposal would more than double the scheme’s capacity from 104 megawatts (MW) to up to 220 MW – contributing to the overall boost of 2500 MW planned for Tasmania under Battery of the Nation.

Replacement could transform the scheme into a state-of-the-art hydropower asset, perfectly suited for the changing needs of Australia’s energy system. By converting the station to flexible operation, instead of just base load, it could flexibly boost output at times of high market demand.

Feasibility work is expected to take about 18 months.

The redevelopment could cost up to $500 million over three years, and support hundreds of engineering and construction jobs in the Derwent Valley and across Tasmania.

Like to know more?

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

Community information sessions - thank you for your feedback

We are committed to keeping communities informed about the work we are doing.

We held community information sessions in Bothwell and more recently, at the Tarraleah Power Station Open Day, to share information about the options being considered for the scheme, and allow the community to meet the project team and ask questions.

Thank you to everyone who attended and shared their feedback. 

Can I provide feedback?

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

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

M strathgordon-power-station-55

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 Tasmania's plan to become the Battery of the Nation.

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

© Hydro-Electric Corporation 2019