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) has 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. The technical part of our feasibility study is complete and we are now finalising the preferred asset management strategy to set Tarraleah up for long term success in a future energy market.

In December, the Tasmanian and Australian Governments announced a commitment to identify and refine support mechanisms for the project. A $650 million redevelopment of Tarraleah could increase the scheme’s responsiveness, flexibility and double its generation capacity.

The announcement comes alongside the signing of a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Tasmanian and Australian Governments, marked by a visit from the Prime Minister, Tasmanian Premier and Federal and State Energy Ministers to Trevallyn Power Station.

The MOU outlines a shared path forward for further progressing the new 1500MW interconnector Marinus Link and the pumped hydro and hydropower upgrade opportunities that form the Battery of the Nation.

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?

Thank you to everyone who has attended our community information sessions and shared their feedback. This has provided the opportunity for us to share information about the options being considered for the scheme and allow the community to meet the project team and ask questions.

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.