Installation of temporary diesel generators at Bell Bay

Another 75MW 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.

Hydro Tasmania manager major works Andrew Hickman said the 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,” he said.

“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 and are expected to be operating 24 hours a day for approximately three months.

“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 seven days), and the expected timing of the return to service of Basslink to service,” 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 200MW of temporary diesel generation by the end of April.