Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

8 June 2016

Matthew Groom, Minister for Energy

Basslink Cable Repair Welcomed

Basslink has today informed the Government that the repair process for the Basslink Cable has now been completed. Basslink are now undertaking final testing and re commissioning.

Weather permitting it is now expected that the Basslink Cable will return to service earlier than the current date of the end of June. This is a significant and welcomed development that further eases risks associated with energy supply. This along with the winter and spring inflows will help continue the rebuild of our major storages.

As of today, dam storage levels are at 26 per cent. Due to the improved energy security situation and increasing storages Hydro Tasmania has commenced the first phase of demobilising the temporary diesel generators.

With storages now at 26.0 per cent and the major industrials returning to full load, Hydro Tasmania has advised the Government that it continues to be in a position to meet Tasmania’s electricity needs with a reduced reliance on supplementary generation.

The first four sites to be demobilised during June and July in accordance with lease contracts and other legal and environmental requirements are:

  • Catagunya Power Station;
  • Meadowbank Power Station;
  • George Town substation; and
  • Port Latta substation.

The total capacity to be demobilised is 87 MW, leaving approximately 135 MW remaining at the Que River and Bell Bay sites available to operate if required. Hydro Tasmania will continue to monitor the situation and further judgements will be made about the balance of the diesel generation in the coming weeks.

As at the end of May, Hydro Tasmania has spent approximately $50.5 million on installation and lease costs and in the order of $8.5 million on operating the diesel generators.

The planned demobilisation of the first tranche of diesel generation will result in avoided lease costs of approximately $2 million per month.

While the costs associated with the deployment of temporary diesel generation are significant the consequences of not acting could have been far more severe.

While we are now past the worst of the energy situation we need to be very careful and prudent as we rebuild the storages and reassess future risks.

We must better understand the risks we face with shifting rainfall patterns and also what contingencies are appropriate to address any future potential outage of the Basslink cable. This is the work we will do through the Energy Security Taskforce. 

I would like to take this opportunity to again thank all people across the energy businesses, government and Basslink for the tireless effort to date to ensure energy security in Tasmania is maintained and the Tasmanian economy and jobs have been protected.

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