Tasmania’s electricity woes revisited

13 02 2016

It all seems to be going from bad to worse……  Basslink may not be fixed in ages due to poor weather and visibility at the bottom of the sea. The biggest electricity consumer in Tasmania, an aluminium smelter of course, is going to reduce its consumption by 10%, which means that as it uses 25% of the whole state’s consumption (aluminium is soooo sustainable!), this will only reduce total consumption by a mere 2.5%.  I guess you have to start somewhere.

The Government is urging households and small businesses to be ‘prudent’ about their electricity use.  Domestic electricity use accounts for 40% of Tasmania’s energy demand.  Just imagine how much power could be saved if the whole place ran as efficiently as we did in Queensland?

Hydro Tasmania has more than doubled the number of diesel generators on order to 200 because Basslink may not be able to fix the undersea power cable to Victoria by the target date of March 19.  The cable has been offline since December 20, forcing Hydro Tasmania to rely further on already low water storages to meet the Tassie’s energy demands; I’m also told it doesn’t really start raining here until April or May… so how low will the dams go?

I heard talk on the radio of putting a second Basslink cable across the strait, at a cost of one billion dollars.  Would it not be a whole lot cheaper to reinstate a decent feed-in tariff and get Tasmanians to install more PVs on their roofs?

Tasmania’s Energy Minister Matthew Groom is, according to the media, under pressure “to resolve a hold-up on a planned wind farm in the state’s north-west.”  And… West Coast Wind has approval to build a 33-turbine farm near Queenstown but has not been able to secure agreement from Hydro Tasmania to buy the power it generates.


According to Hydro Tasmania, an existing wind farm at Musselroe is generating enough energy to supply the needs of up to 50,000 homes; equivalent to the residential power needs of Burnie and Devonport combined. With Tasmania blessed with loads of wind in the roaring forties in the North West, it seems that these wind farms work very well here….. and it must surely be better than burning Victoria’s brown coal.

What sort of morons run this state?  And exactly how is it that Hydro Tasmania is more interested in profits than supplying power to their customers, no matter where it comes from?  Another classic example of why doing things for money instead of doing them because they are essential….. and the shit hasn’t even hit the fan quite yet, though I find it hard to not think the economic death spiral has arrived.

One billion dollars would go a very long way to instigate an energy efficiency program to lower consumption everywhere.  I’ve proven how much things can be improved efficiency wise.

I hope my batteries don’t take too much longer to arrive….




5 responses

13 02 2016

> I’m also told it doesn’t really start raining here until April or May… so how low will the dams go?

ABC said this morning that the hydro dams are 14% full. Since we are in an El Nino weather pattern, you might want to check what the weather has done during past El Ninos.

13 02 2016
Chris Harries

Thanks for this entry, Mike.

Have been doing a running commentary on this saga.


This actually goes back a long way, to the late 60s when a severe drought imposed power rationing on the Comalco aluminium smelter. To remediate this embarrassment the state government subsequently built an oil fired power station near to the smelter, but that was effectively never used because it was built just prior to the Arab oil embargo.

The next insurance policy to protect against drought was to build the Basslink undersea cable, on a pretext of selling renewable energy to the mainland. As we now know, the net energy transfer across Basslink has been from north to south by quite a margin. But it did provide drought security…. until that broke down.

The sudden request to the feds to provide infrastructure funds for a second Basslink is rather depart, and they are still using the same language… to export renewable power to the Mainland. Never mind that we don’t have any surplus to sell.

But… anyway… this breakdown has put the cat amongst the pigeons and for the first time in ages there’s a debate going on re energy policy. I hope it doesn’t take us in even more absurd directions.

13 02 2016

Absurd is where we live, we are through the looking glass and living in a right wing fantasy land of doublethink, doublespeak and doublecross. The neo-liberal theologians of Libor at the helm of the great Corpocracy of Australia will continue to ensure that all public service utilities are turned over to private profit. At the same time they keep backing fossil fuels even when world markets are turning to renewable energy. The current crises besetting Tasmania are way beyond the capacities of politicians stuck in a fossil mindset.

It’s only a few years ago that their bumbling saw our sole wind turbine manufacturing plant closed down in NW Tasmania. If they hadn’t been so ideologically opposed to clean renewable energy instead of wanting to burn more wood , oil and gas Tassie could have reaped the many rewards of being a turbine manufacturing hub for the nation.

The wind farms we could have had would be making enough electricity to export right now.

We are governed by fools led by corporate rogues.

13 02 2016
Arthur Robey

Ah. Ha.
I see that you are learning all about Hydro Tasmania.
Come the crash (don’t bother, it’s here.) Hydro will be the saving of Tasmania, but for now HT is still in the 19th century.

14 03 2016
Basslink repairs hit internet users in Tasmania – The Online Group

[…] Related Article : https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/tasmanias-electricity-woes-revisited/ […]

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