Energising Tasmania’s future at Tarraleah

21 June 2018

One of Tasmania’s oldest hydro schemes will be transformed under plans to double Tasmania’s clean energy capacity and secure the lowest possible power prices.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has provided $2.5 million, matched by Hydro Tasmania, for a feasibility assessment into upgrading or replacing the Tarraleah Power Station. The project would also improve other parts of the Tarraleah scheme.

The proposal would more than double the scheme’s capacity from 104 megawatts (MW) to 220 MW – contributing to the overall boost of 2,500 MW planned for Tasmania under Battery of the Nation.

Replacement would also transform the Tarraleah scheme into a state-of-the-art hydropower asset, perfectly suited for Australia’s changing 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.

The Tarraleah scheme in the Central Highlands was commissioned in the 1930s and produces about 630 gigawatt hours of energy each year - about 6.5 per cent of Hydro Tasmania’s total production.

Feasibility work into the preferred option (upgrade or replace) 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.

The CEO of Hydro Tasmania, Steve Davy, said ARENA has now supported Battery of the Nation with overall funding of $5 million.

Battery of the Nation is about locking in our island’s energy security and giving Tasmanians the lowest possible power prices. It offers a future that’s clean, reliable and affordable,” Mr Davy said.

“Doubling Tasmania’s clean energy would also create a surplus, beyond our island’s needs, to support mainland Australia. That’s crucial to replace the coal power that’s being phased out.

“While pumped hydro and wind power attract most of the attention, getting more electricity from our existing hydropower assets will also be crucial. We can start by finding another 116 MW from Tarraleah.

“This upgrade will also transform Tarraleah into Tasmania’s first truly 21st century hydropower station – adding stability and flexibility to Australia’s future clean energy market.

Battery of the Nation isn’t just a Hydro Tasmania initiative; it’s a Tasmanian initiative. It’ll serve our communities, with contributions from right across the renewable energy sector,” he said.

Hydro Tasmania recently identified 14 options as the state’s best pumped hydro storage opportunities - worth up to 4800 megawatts of capacity. They’ll now be narrowed down to the equivalent to about 2500 megawatts of potential.

Hydro Tasmania’s Future State NEM report also confirms Battery of the Nation is an extremely viable and cost-competitive option for supporting Australia’s future energy needs. Even with the need for more interconnection factored in, it’s cost-competitive against all other realistic options.

These outcomes further strengthen the case for more interconnection across Bass Strait, which would also unlock Tasmania’s untapped wind energy potential.

Modelling shows Battery of the Nation and other clean energy opportunities would create up to $5 billion of dollars of investment and 3000 jobs in regional Tasmania over 10 to 15 years.


Ends.

Released for Hydro Tasmania by Rowan Dix, (03) 62305330 / 0409 722359 / media@hydro.com.au.

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