Big cable back in action
Tasmania’s Basslink power cable is back up and running, after almost six months offline.
Basslink was switched on at midday on Monday, and is now operating at about a fifth of its capacity, exporting electricity at a rate of 100 megawatt hours.
Hydro Tasmania says it can export power to the mainland, as many of its dwindling storages are now spilling over after heavy rains.
Dozens of cable experts have been working on repairs since a fault caused the cable to fail in December.
“We are pleased to resume normal operations,” said Basslink chief Malcolm Eccles.
“I would like to thank our repair team for their hard work and commitment over the past six months.
“I would also like to thank Alcatel-Lucent, Prysmian and the Basslink operational team.”
The failed cable combined with record low hydro dam levels triggered an energy crisis that forced Tasmania to bring in almost 200 mobile diesel generators for power.
Hydro Tasmania chief Steve Davy says storages in Lake Gordon, Great Lake, and Lake Echo will be boosted in coming weeks, while other storages are above target levels.
Overall storage levels are at just over 27 per cent.
“The remainder of the storages are very full, many are spilling, which means these power stations need to run around the clock to create room to capture more winter rain,” Mr Davy said.
“With all of these generators running, and up to 300 megawatt hours of wind generation available, there is more than enough energy to meet all Tasmanian demand.
“This surplus of energy will exist for at least the next week without any more rain.
“As a result, Basslink will be used to export to the rest of the national electricity market.
“Although this may seem a little strange as only two months ago diesel generators were running, it is consistent with the overall build strategy and the best way to avoid wasting our precious water resources.”