The high cost of high voltage power lines

6 02 2014
Whilst looking for information on Tasmania’s high tension power grid and how it is maintained in some of the wildest country on Earth, I came across this photo… Tasmania’s electricity transmission company, Transend embarked on its biggest infrastructure project two years ago, connecting its new high voltage transmission line from Waddamana in the Central Highlands (which, coincidentally we visited, because there is an amazing Hydro Museum there that my friend Bruce highly recommended) to Lindisfarne on Hobart’s eastern shore.  This power line apparently promises to secure southern Tasmania’s power supply for decades to come.  At least for as long as there will be oil to fly the choppers……

And it comes with a big price tag….  The $130 million project is being funded through an increase in Transend’s fees, which will obviously been passed onto Tasmania’s power consumers, adding around $12 to the average power bill according to Transend’s chief executive, Peter Clark.  But we still have our Prime Moronster claiming fee hikes are caused by the price on Carbon and rooftop solar….

The helicopter and pilot were used to construct the 100 kilometre long transmission line between Waddamana and Lindisfarne, replacing a 110,000 volt line which was built in 1922 with a new 220,000 volt line.  The helicopter is being used to guide cables weighing hundreds of kilos through connection points on the steel pylons, and with over 800 kilometres of cable to string up, a helicopter is considered the most efficient way to get the job done.  As you can see, I am hardly wrong when I pound the fact the electricity grid is highly dependant on oil, even when it is energised with sustainable hydro power…..

When it was completed, the line boosted the amount of electricity that can be fed into Hobart, and will secure energy supplies to the 250,000 people living in southern Tasmania.  Transend expects the transmission line to be here for the next 60 years……  well, we will see.  Techno optimism rules.

Pelton wheel and generator

Pelton wheel and generator

Waddamana Hydro Museum

Waddamana Hydro Museum




One response

8 01 2016
Tasmania’s electricity woes | Damn the Matrix

[…] knew from visiting the Waddamana museum two years ago that the 7MW hydro power station was built in 1910, for a Zinc smelter no less. But much of what […]

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