Station study gets funding
THE Tarraleah Power Station is a step closer to a half-billion dollar overhaul after a $5 million feasibility study into the project was announced by the state and federal governments last week.
Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, state counterpart Guy Barnett and Hydro Tasmania announced the funding, saying the development could double the site’s energy and create hundreds of jobs in the Derwent Valley during construction.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Hydro will each contribute $2.5 million to the study, which will follow an already completed “pre-feasibility study”.
“The power station is a critical part of the state’s hydropower system and we need to ensure it meets the future needs of the electricity market,” Mr Barnett said.
Mr Frydenberg said the Turnbull Government was committed to securing Tasmania’s energy supply and feasibility studies helped to investigate future development opportunities.
“The potential redevelopment of the Tarraleah Power Station builds on the identification of 14 high-potential pumped hydro energy storage sites across Tasmania, which early modelling shows, if developed, would create up to $5 billion of investment and around 3000 regional jobs,” he said.
The proposal would more than double the scheme’s capacity from 104 megawatts to 220MW, contributing to the overall boost of 2500MW planned for Tasmania under the Battery of the Nation project.
The feasibility study into the redevelopment of the site, which will also consider replacing the station, is expected to take 18 months with the construction phase set to take three years.
The station would be converted from base load to flex- ible operation, boosting output as it is needed in times of high demand. Hundreds of engineering and construction jobs in the Derwent Valley and South are being promised if the project goes ahead.
Mr Barnett said the redevelopment of Tarraleah further supported the need for increased interconnection with the mainland.
“This takes our heritage hydro assets and propels them into the next generation which is in line with the Battery of the Nation — pumped hydro development opportunities for our state.”
The Central Highlands scheme was commissioned in the 1930s and produces 630 gigawatt hours of energy annually — 6.5 per cent of Hydro’s total production.
The 14 pumped hydro storage options, with up to 4800MW of capacity, will be narrowed down to 2500MW while the case for a second interconnector across Bass Strait continues to be pushed.