Hydro Tasmania has selected Lake Cethana as the preferred pumped hydro site for Tasmania, with the project now set to progress to the final feasibility stage.
Tasmania is fortunate to have a topography that supports potential pumped hydro development.
To this end, pumped hydro opportunities at Lake Cethana and Lake Rowallan in Tasmania’s North West and another near Tribute Power Station on the West Coast were prioritised for assessment on a range of technical, environmental, social and economic factors as part of Hydro Tasmania’s feasibility study.
Hydro Tasmania Chief Executive Officer, Evangelista Albertini, said, “Lake Cethana is our preferred site that will now progress to final feasibility assessment.
“This will involve more on-the-ground investigations and local community engagement to look more closely at technical, social and environmental factors.
“We are keen to hear what the community has to say and to seek their input on what matters to them before our plans are finalised.
“Completing the feasibility assessment on the Cethana project will be the next step towards developing a pumped hydro project that can deliver positive outcomes for local communities and Tasmania, and support Australia’s transition to clean energy.”
Mr Albertini said Hydro Tasmania would continue to progress its work to align the Cethana pumped hydro opportunity to the second 750MW Marinus Link cable development.
This cable will trigger the need for a pumped hydro development to provide the cost-competitive deep storage that will be required for reliable electricity supplies as more variable renewable energy permeates the grid.
The first 750MW cable will unlock hundreds of megawatts of existing and available latent capacity in the current hydro system that can support the market transition.
It will also trigger upgrades to the existing hydro fleet to increase capacity, which includes a potential redevelopment of the Tarraleah power scheme.
“Having a portfolio of opportunities places Hydro Tasmania in a great place to respond to the future capacity and storage needs of the National Electricity Market,” Mr Albertini said.
“Combining our significant hydropower and pumped hydro capacity with low-cost wind and solar gives Tasmania a strong competitive advantage.”
The announcement comes as part of a major step forward for Tasmania’s renewable energy ambitions, with the Tasmanian and Federal Governments announcing a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two governments.
The MOU outlines a shared path forward and further certainty for progressing Marinus Link, the new 1,500MW interconnector between Tasmania and mainland Australia, and the Cethana pumped hydro and hydropower upgrade opportunities in the existing portfolio that form the Battery of the Nation.
Mr Albertini said that it was an important next step for Battery of the Nation and Tasmania’s visionary renewable energy plan.
“The Australian Government continues to show strong support for these opportunities and further demonstrated their commitment to working with our state to realise this significant opportunity,” Mr Albertini said.
“Marinus Link is a critical enabler of the Battery of the Nation.
“Together, these projects can support the nation’s transition to a clean energy future by providing cost-effective, dispatchable, highly-flexible renewable energy, backed by deep storage capacity.”
The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said delivering the Marinus Link and Battery of the Nation projects are a key part of the Federal Government’s JobMaker Plan to ensure affordable and reliable energy in the east coast energy grid.
“These two projects will maintain downward pressure on electricity prices, so households can keep more of what they earn,” Mr Morrison said.
“They will also develop the backbone of a reliable, lower emissions National Electricity Market for the next decade and beyond.
“These projects will create 2,800 jobs which will be crucial as Tasmania continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said this deal with Tasmania demonstrates the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring households and businesses in every corner of the country can access affordable and reliable power.
“Projects like Marinus Link and Battery of the Nation can help deliver a more reliable energy system, reducing the risk of blackouts and electricity price volatility,” Mr Taylor said.
“Marinus Link will provide the additional interconnection needed to export the electricity generated by the Battery of the Nation projects to the mainland.
“In doing so, it will unlock a pipeline of new renewable energy investment, including pumped hydro energy storage.
“Energy projects like this also represent a massive economic opportunity for Australia as we recover from the COVID-19 recession.”
Tasmanian Premier, Peter Gutwein, said the MOU between the State and Federal Governments will underpin plans to rebuild a stronger Tasmania.
“The MOU will help to further unlock Tasmania’s renewable energy potential, with thousands of jobs and over $7 billion in economic activity set to flow as a result,” Mr Gutwein said.
“Having already achieved 100 per cent self-sufficiency in renewables, Tasmania is already punching above its weight in generating low-cost, reliable, clean energy for the nation, and this will help us achieve our target to double our renewable generation to 200 per cent of our current needs by 2040.”
Tasmanian Minister for Energy, Guy Barnett, said it confirms Tasmania’s reputation as a global leader in renewable energy.
“The anticipated increased energy interconnection between mainland Australia and Tasmania will also improve energy security and help put downward pressure on power prices, while enhancing our growing reputation for renewable energy production.”
Key components of the Tasmanian State Energy and Emissions Reduction Deal include:
- The Federal Government will contribute a further $93.9 million as part of the agreement for the Marinus Link project
- The creation of a joint special purpose corporate vehicle (62.5 per cent shares to Commonwealth and 37.5 per cent shares to Tasmania) that will progress the Marinus Link transmission through to a Final Investment Decision
- The agreement as part of the Morrison Government’s Underwriting New Generation Investments (UNGI) program to a scoping and development process for underwriting the first Battery of the Nation pumped hydro site at Cethana that will provide additional dispatchable electricity and energy storage to the mainland
The Commonwealth and Tasmanian governments have previously provided a combined $95 million to advance these projects.
Hydro Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation initiative has been supported with $5 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).