Pumped and primed for a bigger Marinus Link

5 October 2019

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).

Hydro Tasmania Chief Executive Officer Steve Davy welcomed TasNetworks’ plans, saying Hydro Tasmania stands ready to respond to the needs of the market.

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

“We have more than 400 MW of latent capacity and ample opportunities, both in optimising our existing asset base and in our highly competitive pumped hydro development options. In particular, our existing and potential long duration (deep) storages allow us flexibility in optimising our assets and operations to best meet future market requirements.

“Hydro Tasmania’s 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 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.

“This pipeline of future projects brings significant optionality and flexibility, as these opportunities can be developed in stages as the electricity market transforms.

“Hydro Tasmania will continue to work with TasNetworks and the Federal and Tasmanian Governments to identify options that maximise the value of any interconnector investment and ensure best outcomes for Tasmanians and customers in the broader national electricity market,” Mr Davy said.

 

Background

TasNetworks, with support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has undertaken significant work over the past two years to demonstrate the value of additional Bass Strait interconnection as part of its Project Marinus: Feasibility and Business Case Assessment.

TasNetworks’ findings and Hydro Tasmania’s independent assessment show there is a clear need for Marinus Link as critical enabling infrastructure to support the Battery of the Nation initiative and other renewable developments in Tasmania.

Early pre-emptive development of strategic interconnection such as Marinus Link would cost-effectively increase the resilience of the power system to coal-fired generation closing earlier than expected.

Tasmania has what the rest of the country needs and Battery of the Nation represents one of the most reliable and cost-competitive solutions for meeting Australia’s future energy needs. Tasmania’s existing hydropower portfolio has latent capacity that could be shared with the rest of the NEM – providing substantial flexible dispatchable energy when it is most needed.

Tasmania has significant potential storage capacity and our long duration pumped hydro is one of the most cost-competitive storage options available. Hydro Tasmania is investing up to $30 million for more in-depth studies into our three most promising sites. This will involve grassroots community engagement, geotechnical investigations and environmental, heritage and social assessments.

The credibility and value of Tasmanian pumped storage was recognised earlier this year by the Federal Government’s commitment to develop an underwriting mechanism for Battery of the Nation.

The pumped hydro pre-feasibility summary report is available on the Hydro Tasmania website.

 

Ends

Released for Hydro Tasmania by Bronwyn Hill / 0409 722359 / media@hydro.com.au.

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