Tasmania ships in generators as crisis continues

Diesel generators continue to arrive in Tasmania as the state’s power crisis drags on.

Yesterday, the total energy left in storage in Tasmania’s dams was 14.6 per cent, down 0.2 per cent for the week.

Hydro Tasmania and TasNetworks are working to ­deliver up to 100MW of temporary diesel-generated power by the end of this month, with another 100MW expected to be available from the end of April. Generators are progressively being installed at Catagunya Power Station, George Town, Port Latta, Medowbank Power Station and at a former mine site at Que River on the West Coast.

Hydro Tasmania chief executive officer Steve Davy said last week’s rain provided some positive inflows and reduced the draw on dam storages. The Great Lake received some inflows which, combined with pumping from Arthur’s Lake allowed it to maintain its level at 11.4 per cent.

“Our people have been working tirelessly to implement the Energy Supply Plan, and the plan is achieving its objective: to meet all Tasmanian energy demand,” Mr Davy said.

The Trent gas unit, which has been in Abu Dhabi for repair under warranty, will return to Tasmania this week, earlier than expected. It is likely to return to service by the end of the first week of April, Mr Davy said.

Hydro Tasmania said it has revised its risk assessment for Great Lake based on scientific advice.

“We are currently only running Poatina Power Station at 60MW, which meets downstream irrigation purposes,” Mr Davy said.

“Hydro Tasmania takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. We will continue to do all we can to manage the environmental risk in what is a very challenging time for the business and the state.”

Hydro Tasmania has begun planning activities to support Phase Two of the Energy Supply Plan should the outage of Basslink continue past June 30, 2016. The objective of the Energy Supply Plan would remain essentially unchanged – to maintain supply to the Tasmanian electricity system. Phase Two covers the period through to the winter of 2017.

Hydro Tasmania is investigating longer-term temporary generation options, which could be added to the planned 200MW of diesel generation. As well, continuing to run gas generation at the TVPS is an option. Three dual fuel (diesel/gas) units have been secured to be installed at the old Bell Bay thermal power stations site if required. These units would initially be run on diesel due to longer lead times for gas connection.

One of the key factors guiding decision making on these options is inflows to hydro storages. Winter is the period of highest inflows to storages, and during high inflow periods all available hydro generation will operated to avoid spill.