Progress on Tasmania’s “Battery of the Nation” Aspirations

Tasmania - Battery of the nation

Tasmania has its sights set on becoming Australia’s renewable energy battery

From little things, big things grow – Hydro Tasmania has reported on progress of engineering work underway that will contribute towards a goal of making the Apple Isle the “Battery of the Nation”.

Hydro Tasmania is undertaking a major refurbishment of its Derwent system, which is expected to boost electricity generation by more than 80 gigawatt hours annually.

Part of this effort is the Cluny Power Station upgrade and refurbishment, which incorporates a turbine upgrade that will increase generation efficiency by approximately 3 per cent. The turbine will also have a water-filled hub to replace what is currently an oil-filled one, making it more flexible, reliable and removing the risk of oil spills.

Hydro Tasmania CEO Steve Davy says Tasmania currently provides about five per cent of Australia’s energy, but with increased  interconnection, hydropower system refinements, and further developing the state’s wind power, Tasmania’s contribution could grow significantly.

“Longer-term, the Battery of the Nation vision involves big projects like major pumped storage hydro,” he said. ” But early grass-roots hydropower projects like the Cluny upgrade will also play a vital part.”

Tasmania’s Energy Minister, Matthew Groom, yesterday inspected progress on the Cluny Power Station upgrade and refurbishment.

“Tasmania is one of the few places on Earth that is almost entirely powered by renewable baseload energy,” said Minister Groom. “We do it better than anyone else, anywhere else and the Hodgman Government is committed to making Tasmania the nation’s renewable energy battery.”

Large batteries and pumped hydro storage will play a crucial role in Australia’s clean energy future as the nation moves away from coal-fired power and more towards renewable energy sources, including solar and wind.

In April, the Federal Government announced the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will work with Hydro Tasmania in assessing new pumped hydro energy storage projects that could deliver up to 2,500MW of storage capacity for Australia’s National Electricity Market.

In June, in-principle agreements were announced for two major wind power projects in Tasmania – the 144 MW Wild Cattle Hill and 112 MW Granville Harbour wind farms. Combined, the projects will generate enough electricity to supply the requirements of 100,000 homes. These projects could free up hydro resources and play a role in providing electricity for pumped hydro storage.

Solar power is somewhat of a poor cousin to wind and hydro in Tasmania, but residents of the Apple Isle have been supporting PV technology by installing solar power systems on their rooftops – and slashing their power bills by doing so. The latest information from Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator indicates 29,617 small scale solar panel systems are installed in Hobart and throughout the state, plus 12,220 solar hot water systems and heat pumps.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Easier said than done. What is the planning for cables under Bass Strait? The present cable suffered a major outage and I have not heard of the repairs that were made or what caused it. The rumour that I did hear was that they tried to push too much energy through it.

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