Entura supports a bright future for Tasmanian hydropower icon
March 29, 2023
The Tarraleah hydropower scheme has generated clean energy for Tasmania for more than 80 years. Entura is supporting our parent company, Hydro Tasmania, with the first stage of activity to reimagine an exciting future for the scheme.
Hydro Tasmania Chief Executive Officer Ian Brooksbank said that Tarraleah is an incredible piece of engineering and an icon of the Central Highlands.
“Our vision for Tarraleah is to redevelop the scheme to deliver the benefits that the future energy market will need and generate up to 250 jobs during peak construction.
“The redevelopment would boost capacity, better support the growth of wind and solar through faster, more flexible operation and generate around 30 per cent more energy from the same water.”
Specialist renewable energy and water consultants from Entura are a key part of delivering construction works at Lake King William and Mossy Marsh Dam that support a potential new scheme and station in the future.
On site at Lake King William to see progress first hand, Mr Brooksbank said that it was fantastic to see work well underway for progressing the vision for Tarraleah into action.
“The network of canals that have fed water from Lake King William to the station for decades will need to be replaced in future.
“What is happening now are important upgrade works to construct a brand new water intake and connecting tunnel to meet up with a future new water conveyance. Improvements to the dam at Mossy Marsh are largely completed and upgrading the local access road is also underway.
“There’s almost 100 full-time equivalent roles working on these upgrades across Hydro Tasmania and Entura and our contractors – that’s great news for the region and there’s more to come as we progress our plans.”
Well-known Tasmanian civil construction company Hazell Bros was awarded the contracts for the first tranche of upgrade works projects.
These works, together with activity to assess the viability of building a brand new scheme and power station, represents a $123 million investment towards a clean energy future, with up to $65 million of that committed by the Australian Government.
Hydro Tasmania has also started environmental approvals through the Federal Government, a vital part of the redevelopment assessment, allowing the public to comment on Tarraleah’s proposed future.
“Getting the views of the local community on Tarraleah’s future is important. We will continue to provide opportunities to talk directly with our team about what is ahead,” he said.
Tasmania has abundant, low-cost wind resources and hydropower potential, which can be unlocked through the new 1500 MW Marinus Link interconnector.
Hydro Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation vision is to maximise Tasmania’s existing hydropower capacity and add pumped hydro.
The first 750 MW Marinus Link cable will unlock flexibility in the existing hydropower system to provide the on-demand back-up needed. It also opens up potential for capacity upgrades in Hydro Tasmania’s assets including the Tarraleah scheme and the West Coast stations.
A Federal Government funding commitment of up to $65 million for Tarraleah, together with $58 million in investment from Hydro Tasmania, is supporting work progressing on a commercial assessment of redeveloping Tarraleah and delivering upgrade works that position the scheme well for the future, regardless of the outcome of the commercial decision.
Hydro Tasmania’s feasibility study showed the Tarraleah scheme could be redeveloped to increase capacity and flexibility – all valuable requirements in a future electricity market.
This is a great example of repurposing existing hydropower assets to better align to future market opportunities and to deliver more value to Tasmania from the same water resource.
The second Marinus Link cable creates the opportunity to develop a new pumped hydro scheme – a 750 MW, 20-hour, cost-competitive, long-duration storage opportunity at Lake Cethana.
With more interconnection, new wind projects and increased hydropower capacity, Tasmania will produce more than enough renewable energy to power Tasmanian homes, businesses, and industries plus it can export the extra power to support a clean energy future for Australia.
Benefits will flow back to Tasmania through access to affordable power, economic investment, creation of much needed jobs, attraction of new business, and increased profitability for Hydro Tasmania which brings revenue to the state government to support vital infrastructure and services.