Tasmania looks for alternatives to tackle troubled Basslink

The Tasmanian Government is considering boosting gas-powered electricity generation as part of a strategy to tackle a long-term outage of the Basslink power cable.

If the power cable under Bass Strait is not repaired by the start of May, or there is less winter rainfall than expected to replenish hydro-power generation dams, the Government will consider securing more gas turbines for the Tamar Valley Power Station.

Unable to import power from Victoria, and with hydro-power generator dams at historical lows, the state is in an energy crisis.

Basslink has declared the outage, which his disrupted the Bass Strait cable and created power shortages throughout Tasmania this summer, as an “insurable event” and could seek millions of dollars in damages.

Basslink chief executive Malcolm Eccles said the outage required a “whole set of forensic testing” to determine the cause, and who was ultimately at fault.

Parties involved include Hydro Tasmania, Basslink, the cable manufacturer Prysmian and Basslink’s insurance company. Hydro Tasmania has already spent $44 million hiring and installing 200 diesel generators, which will cost $11 million per 100MW per month to run, according to ABC News.

While the Tasmanian business is not paying any fees to Basslink while the cable is down, it is unclear whether or not it will be able to seek compensation for lost revenue because of the extended outage.

“There are commercial matters that are obviously embedded in the contract, and I’m certain Hydro has obviously got a keen eye on understanding what the obligations are for Basslink under the contract,” Mr Gutwein said, as reported by ABC News.