Installation of temporary diesel generators at Bell Bay

14 April 2016

Another 75 megawatts of generation capacity is about to be added to the Tasmanian electricity system, with the installation of three large generation units at the site of the decommissioned Bell Bay Power Station.

Tasmania is facing an unprecedented combination of below average rainfall and an extended Basslink outage caused by a fault in the cable. To ensure Tasmanian households and businesses continue to have reliable electricity supply, Hydro Tasmania has been further diversifying generation options.

Installation of temporary diesel generators is one of the key measures being implemented under the Energy Supply Plan. In addition to the fleet of small-scale containerised diesel generators already deployed throughout the state, three large dual fuel generators, with a nominal output of 25MW each, are this week being installed adjacent to the decommissioned Bell Bay Power Station.

“These generators can operate on diesel or gas. To expedite connection and be able to generate as early as possible we will initially run them on diesel. If the Basslink outage is further extended and / or inflows remain low, and we need to run them for the longer term, then we will convert them to gas operation,” said Hydro Tasmania’s Manager Major Works, Andrew Hickman.

“Site works are nearing completion, planning and approvals are in train, and we expect that the generators will be operational by early May.”

The generators have been leased from APR Energy Ltd and are expected to be operating 24 hours a day for approximately three months.

Measures being implemented under the Energy Supply Plan mean that we are able to access alternative energy sources, such as diesel and gas, to minimise the draw on hydro storages.

“The amount of diesel generation running at any given time is an operational matter, and will vary depending on the current level of inflows to hydro storages, individual storage levels, the short-term inflow and wind forecast (next 7 days), and the expected timing of the return to service of Basslink,” Mr Hickman said.

“The important point is that this additional generation provides us with more options. If it rains less then we can generate more from gas and temporary diesel generation to maintain storage levels and meet energy demand. If it rains more we can generate less from gas and temporary diesel generation as storages will remain at higher levels.”

Phase Two of the Energy Supply Plan includes installation of a total of 200 MW of temporary diesel generation by the end of April. Hydro Tasmania is on track to meet that target.

“Our people have been working tirelessly to implement the Energy Supply Plan, and the plan is achieving its objective: to meet all Tasmanian energy demand,” Mr Hickman said.

The contribution of gas generation at the Tamar Valley Power Station, diesel already running and demand-side reductions to date have replaced the imports Tasmania had been getting over Basslink.


Released by Samantha Meyer, 03 6230 5746;


Fast Facts

The three dual-fuel units have been leased from APR Energy Ltd, a US-based provider of fast-track mobile turbine power.

The units are General Electric TM2500+ units which are aero-derivative turbines. The turbines produce 90 per cent less nitrogen oxide than a typical high-speed diesel reciprocating engine, and generate approximately 20 percent less noise.

The units are housed in custom-made trailers which have been towed to site from Bell Bay port. Concrete slabs have been poured to support the units and other ancillary equipment.

The units will be connected to an existing unused transformer at Bell Bay Power Station and the power will be exported via the 110kV TasNetworks transmission network. 

There will be about 12 fuel deliveries each day from the Bell Bay port to supply the generators with fuel.

Hydro Tasmania has been working closely with a range of regulatory agencies, including the EPA, Workplace Standards Tasmania and the George Town Council, to ensure that the temporary operation of diesel generating units are compliant with all relevant laws and gain the necessary approvals.

Update on diesel installation
The information below is accurate at time of release. However, the project is challenging and complex. Prioritised sites may change in order to achieve the objective of installation of 200 MW by the end of April.

Tranche One
Catagunya Power Station: 24 MW is installed and operational.
Meadowbank Power Station: 24 MW is installed and operational.
George Town substation: 19 MW is installed and operational.
Port Latta substation: 18 MW is installed and operational
Que River 1: 18MW is installed and operational.

Tranche Two
Que River 2: 18MW is currently being installed with testing anticipated by mid-April.
Que River 3 (previously Savage River): 24MW to be installed; equipment procured, site works commenced and progressing to plan.
Bell Bay 1: 75MW of dual fuel capacity to be installed; site works underway. Expected to be operational early May.

For the most up to date information visit


Media enquiries

For media enquiries please contact:

Email icon-dark  

Phone     +61 409 722 359
© Hydro-Electric Corporation 2019