Tasmania: diesel out, renewables in

For the first time this year, Tasmania is being completely powered by renewable energy.

Throughout the past week, Hydro Tasmania has stopped all diesel generation and wound back gas to prevent spill in smaller hydro storages because of high inflows.

Yesterday, the combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) at the Tamar Valley Power Station was turned off, as continued high inflows push storages close to spilling at a number of locations.

Hydro Tasmania CEO Stephen Davy said power stations associated with Hydro Tasmania’s smaller storages are generating at maximum capacity to minimise the chance of precious rainwater from spilling and being wasted.

“The past 10 days have been very positive. We’ve had more rain than predicted and our storages have risen strongly,” he said.

“There’s currently enough hydro and wind energy available to meet all Tasmanian demand. For the first time in months, our island is being powered solely by renewable energy.”

However, Mr Davy said the business is still taking a cautious and prudent approach to recovering from what’s been a challenging few months.

“We may require some bursts of diesel and gas generation over coming months. The Energy Supply Plan was designed to allow flexible generation depending on circumstances: if it rains more, we will generate less from gas and diesel. If it rains less, we will generate more,” he said.

“The Energy Supply Plan is demonstrably working, and we’re very optimistic that storages will continue rising over coming weeks, relieving pressure and giving us extra leeway.”

Hydro Tasmania’s current operating strategy is making full use of the heavy rains.

“Tasmanians can be assured that we’re monitoring and managing the situation flexibly to ensure the rain isn’t wasted and our major storages, Lake Gordon and Great Lake, can start to recover,” Mr Davy said.

“That will obviously be a long slow process.”

Mr Davy said a significant collaborative effort continues to ensure Tasmanian energy demand is met.

“The past few months have seen a huge effort working with the other energy businesses, TasNetworks and Aurora, the State Government, and our suppliers and contractors,” he said.

“Together, through the Energy Supply Plan, we’ve established the equivalent of six small power stations in just a couple of months.

“That’s been a colossal effort, and we will continue to work extremely hard.”