Energy Supply Plan update

28 February 2016

Hydro Tasmania and the State Government have a plan to manage energy supply and that plan is being implemented. Today’s plan update covers the following key points:

  • Work continues on installing up to 200 megawatts of temporary diesel generation with the expected arrival of diesel generators this week at Catagunya Power Station
  • Hydro Tasmania will begin its annual cloud seeding season one month early
  • Rowallan Power Station has been returned to service following fire damage to transmission lines last month. All generation assets affected by fire have now been returned to service.
  • Total energy in storage at 29 February is 16.1 per cent.

The Energy Supply Plan outlines how we will be able to meet all Tasmanian energy demand without Basslink in operation, even in the event of a cool, dry May, and with allowance for an additional adverse event that would have an impact on energy generation, such as loss of a major power station.

A range of actions are being initiated as required in response to the unprecedented situation of record low rainfall and the Basslink outage. The current area of focus is securing and preparing to install up to 200 megawatts of temporary diesel generation.

“Over the past week we have seen significant progress on site preparation that will support the installation of temporary diesel generation,” said Andrew Catchpole, Acting CEO of Hydro Tasmania.

“It’s expected that diesel generators will start arriving at this week at Catagunya Power Station and that the first of the generators will be available for operation by 8 March.”

Hydro Tasmania, TasNetworks and others across government are delivering a plan that will have up to 100 megawatts of temporary diesel generation available for operation by the end of March. This involves ongoing and rapid investigations to identify and prepare proposed sites, including the management of technical, logistical and regulatory issues.

Site works have been substantially completed at Catagunya Power Station in preparation for the installation of temporary diesel generation to start this week. Site works are also starting at Meadowbank Power Station and are underway at George Town substation.

“TasNetworks is working with Hydro Tasmania to facilitate the design and construction of diesel generation connections at TasNetworks sites and to ensure all connections to our network comply with the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) requirements and National Electricity Rules,” said TasNetworks CEO, Lance Balcombe.

“A significant amount of work is being done by TasNetworks’ expert teams to ensure these new generation connections maintain the safety of our people, our customers and the community, and deliver compliant network services.”

Generation from gas and temporary diesel, along with voluntary load reductions by large consumers, will be well in excess of the import capacity of Basslink. This will ensure Tasmanian demand can be met, even with a prolonged Basslink outage.

Hydro Tasmania also announced today that it will begin its cloud seeding season one month earlier than has been usual recent practice.

Hydro Tasmania normally undertakes annual cloud seeding over hydro-generation catchments between May and October (inclusive) each year.

“Due to the unprecedented dry conditions since September 2015 we are planning to commence operations a month early in 2016. An aircraft has been chartered and will be available from 1 April,” Mr Catchpole said.

“While seeding over hydro-generation catchments will have the highest priority, Hydro Tasmania is also prepared to undertake cloud seeding over agricultural catchments and bear the cost of this extra activity.”

Cloud seeding can only occur if cloud conditions are favourable. Historical information shows that there is a good chance of being able to undertake some cloud seeding activity during April.

Prior to starting cloud seeding operations Hydro Tasmania will hold community information sessions with residents of Tasmania’s west coast.

Rowallan Power Station was last week returned to service, following repairs to fire-damaged transmission line. Rowallan was the last of three power stations to be returned to service after fire in the Lake Mackenzie area during January caused extensive damage to a significant amount of infrastructure associated with the stations. This included power poles, communications services and the transmission line between Fisher and Rowallan power stations. The Rowallan-Fisher 22kv line was completed by TasNetworks ready for energising on 23 February and the line was energised by Hydro Tasmania on 24 February.

There was a moderate amount of rain in our catchment areas over 24-25 February, resulting in positive net inflows and reducing the rate at which storages were drawn down. The current Bureau of Meteorology forecast predicts no significant rainfall for the week ahead.

Total energy in storage at 29 February is 16.1 per cent.

Ends

Released by Samantha Meyer, 03 6230 5746

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