For the first time this year, after the Basslink interconnector failed, Tasmania is back to running on 100% renewable energy.
On December 22nd, the company operating the Basslink interconnector, which is the high-voltage cable crossing Bass Strait between the Loy Yang Power Station in Victoria on the Australian Mainland and the George Town substation in northern Tasmania, confirmed that there was an “outage” and that it was investigating.
Five months later, repairs are still continuing, with the first of three jointing exercises completed late-April.
During the meantime, Tasmania has had to run off of gas and diesel generation to ensure that electricity was provided across the entire island.
However, for the first time this year, Tasmania has been powered 100% by renewable energy.
Hydro Tasmania, the government-owned primary electricity generator on the island, announced on May 12th that it had stopped all diesel generation, and had pushed gas generation back to standby. Specifically, increased rainfalls have made it possible to power the entire island from renewable hydro-generated electricity, and gas generation was wound back to prevent water spill in the smaller hydro storage dams due to high inflow.
“The past 10 days have been very positive,” said Hydro Tasmania CEO, Stephen Davy. “We’ve had more rain than predicted and our storages have risen strongly.
“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.”
The 208 MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine located at the Tamar Valley Power Station had been mothballed and partially dismantled before it was required to begin working again to mitigate the lack of electricity in Tasmania caused by low dam levels and the failure of the Basslink interconnector.
Hydro Tasmania isn’t rushing back into dismantling the Tamar Valley Power Station. “We may require some bursts of diesel and gas generation over coming months,” Davy continued. “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.
“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.”
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