Pumped and primed for a bigger Marinus Link

With a strong portfolio of future pumped hydro energy storage opportunities, Hydro Tasmania welcomes news that TasNetworks is assessing options for Marinus Link to provide up to 1500 MW of new interconnection between Tasmania and the rest of the National Electricity Market (NEM).

More interconnection will unlock Tasmania’s full renewable energy potential, providing clean, reliable and affordable energy to support a resilient future energy market.

Our recently completed pre-feasibility study, jointly funded with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has identified a strong portfolio of cost-competitive future pumped hydro opportunities, with a combined capacity of 3400 MW.

This is the sort of long duration (deep) storage the future electricity market will need as it transitions to greater penetration of variable renewable sources.

Work has already begun on a full feasibility assessment of our three top priority pumped hydro opportunities at Lake Cethana and Lake Rowallan in the North West and near Tribute Power Station on the West Coast. Geotechnical work has started in the Mersey-Forth, with site preparations to allow for the start of geotechnical drilling in October.

As well as these promising sites, the pre-feasibility study has identified another three options that form a future pipeline of potential pumped hydro development – at yingina / Great Lake in central Tasmania, Lake Parangana in the state’s North West and between Lakes Margaret and Burbury on the West Coast.

Download the Executive Summary

Download the Summary Report

Get involved!

We are committed to keeping communities informed about the work we are doing. Drop-in information sessions are being held during November with our project team.

This is your chance to come along and learn more about what’s ahead for pumped hydro. We look forward to sharing more information with you, and listening to your thoughts and opinions.

Drop-in session dates and times

Town  Date Location   Times
Ulverstone      20 November     Montgomery Room
Carpark Lane, off King Edward Street
4.30pm – 6.00pm 
Burnie 21 November Cradle Coast Future Energy Hub 
1-3 Spring Street
1.30pm – 4.30pm
Devonport 4 December Paranaple Centre
137 Rooke Street
4.30pm - 6.00pm

Come at any time for a chat with our team. You can stay as long or as little as you like. Our technical team will be available for discussions and to answer your questions (and to share a cup of tea with you). We'll be serving refreshments during the drop-in sessions. Kids are welcome!

Investigating Tasmania’s pumped hydro potential

6474 HYD Battery of a Nation Icons RGB-PUMPED_HYDRO

Coal is retiring, and new sources of renewable energy like wind and solar are cheap and becoming more plentiful. But they are variable so energy storage is needed to help fill the gaps and maintain the reliability and stability of our electricity supply. That’s where Tasmania can help!

Lake Cethana, Lake Rowallan and Tribute pumped hydro opportunities stacked up as the most promising when we assessed them against a range of technical, environmental, financial and social criteria as part of studies carried out over the last 20 months to assess Tasmania’s pumped hydro potential.

These sites were selected from the original list of 14 potential pumped hydro options identified across Tasmania. They represent strong and sustainable development opportunities with the sort of long-term storage options the future national electricity market will need.

We are now progressing our feasibility study, to take a closer look at their potential and decide on the first site that could be developed.

You can learn more about this work in the “Pumped hydro feasibility study” section below.

Civil works and drilling near Lake Cethana and Lake Rowallan

Hydro Tasmania will be conducting work near Lake Rowallan and Lake Cethana from 30 September. We will be doing geotechnical and geological investigations on land adjacent to the lakes (on the western side at both locations).

This work is expected to continue into December 2019 and is part of our feasibility study into the potential of these sites for future pumped hydro development.

Geological and geotechnical investigations help us understand the physical properties of the ground where major infrastructure might go. For example, is the rock hard or soft, are there faults that may make conditions unstable, are there areas of potential leakage?

This information is then used to inform the engineering design of the project.

Before we do field investigations, our team have looked at other information such as previous drilling reports from the area to help us decide where to drill.

Work sites and disturbed areas will be rehabilitated at the completion of work at each investigation area.

Core samples

Civil works and drilling schedule

From 30 September  Civil works start at Cethana. This means access track construction and drill pad preparation
From 7 October Start of drilling operations at Cethana
From 14 October Start of drilling operations at Rowallan
Late October to December Other site investigation activities including test pitting and augering

Over the course of these investigations, there may be extra traffic in these areas, and possible minor delays as large equipment is moved to and from the two sites. Please be aware when travelling through these areas and follow any traffic advisory signs.

Heavy machinery will be moved to site along these roads at the start of the preparatory civil works and access track construction. When the drilling investigation program starts, there will be large drilling rigs coming on to site.

Download our geotechnical fact sheet.

Geotechnical investigations

  • Civil works

  • Drilling and test pitting

  • Site restoration

Pumped to announce our three most promising sites

We’re pumped to announce our three most promising pumped hydro sites and to get started on the detailed investigation of these key opportunities.

Work has now begun on a full feasibility assessment of opportunities at Lake Cethana and Lake Rowallan in the North-West and near Tribute Power Station on the West Coast.

This will involve grassroots community engagement, geotechnical investigations and environmental, heritage and social assessments.

Our Board has approved funding for this work to begin, as part of the first tranche of investment of up to $30 million for deeper studies of the three options.

The studies will identify the first pumped hydro project that can be ready to operate when 1200MW of additional Bass Strait interconnection comes online.

Download our Fact Sheets showing more detail on each potential site
Cethana (PDF 1 MB)
Rowallan (PDF 1 MB)
Tribute (PDF 1MB)
Three most promising pumped hydro sites
Mersey-Forth: Lake Cethana 
 Detail Capacity (MW)  Storage (hours)
  •  A new off-river upper storage on the western side of the Lake, linked by underground tunnels to Lake Cethana as the lower storage.
  • An underground pumped hydro power station at the lower end of the water conveyance tunnels.
  • A new transmission line connection from the proposed Cethana switchyard to Sheffield Substation, using existing easements where possible. 
 600  11

 Mersey-Forth: Lake Rowallan  
 Detail Capacity (MW) Storage (hours)
  •  A new off-river upper storage linked by underground tunnels to Lake Rowallan as the lower storage. 
  • A new underground pumped hydro power station at the lower end of the water conveyance tunnels. 
  • A new transmission line connection from the proposed Rowallan switchyard to Sheffield Substation, using existing easements where possible. 
 600  24

 West Coast: Tribute pumped hydro  
 Detail  Capacity (MW)  Storage (hours)
This option uses two existing storages – Lake Plimsoll as the upper storage and Lake Murchison as the lower storage.
  • New underground water conveyance tunnels linking the two existing lakes. No new water storages are required.
  • A new underground pumped hydro power station at the lower end of the water conveyance tunnels and adjacent to the existing underground power station.
  • Upgraded transmission line connection from the proposed Tribute switchyard to Farrell Substation, with an upgraded transmission line connection to Sheffield Substation as required. Existing easements will be used where possible.
 500  31

The studies undertaken during the feasibility stage include:

  • Geological and geotechnical studies
  • Environmental and heritage investigations
  • Stakeholder and community consultation on potential project impacts, benefits and mitigation measures
  • Engineering design and constructability
  • Transmission and connection studies.

Check out the information below on selecting a pumped hydro site, for more information on the process ahead.

Investigating Tasmania's pumped hydro potential

  • Selecting a pumped hydro site

  • Geotechnical investigations

  • Tasmanian pumped hydro pre-feasibility study

  • What is pumped hydro?

  • Why do we need pumped hydro?

  • Do you have questions?

© Hydro-Electric Corporation 2019