Energy crisis denial

THE government has  rejected  Labor criticism that leaked internal Hydro Tasmania modelling shows  that  the state  is on the verge of an energy crisis.

Energy Minister Matthew Groom and Hydro Tasmania  said the energy storage modelling, which showed levels would only drop below 15 per cent of capacity if one-in-20 or one-in-100-year sequences took place, showed Tasmania would continue to meet its energy demands.

The government has repeatedly denied claims that the state was experiencing an energy crisis since a fault in the Basslink cable was detected late last month.

Mr Groom accused Labor of peddling a ‘‘reckless and irresponsible scare campaign’’ about energy levels, and said the modelling completely debunked claims of a crisis.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green said the fact that   the January 4 modelling had levels shortly dropping below 20 per cent of capacity under a median modelled sequence showed Tasmania was in a precarious energy situation.

‘‘Tasmania’s storages are a lot closer to an extreme risk situation than they are to the preferred operating minimum level,’’  he  said.

Mr Green said Tasmanians did not have enough information about  energy levels  or the work being done to repair the  Basslink cable.

Under the median modelled sequence, Hydro predicts Tasmania will return to the preferred minimum operating level for a brief period in late 2016.

Storage levels were above the preferred minimum operating mark as recently as September 2015, before dry conditions and the Basslink fault saw levels plummet from above 30 per cent capacity to 22.5 per cent  as of January 4.

The modelling forms part of Hydro Tasmania’s weekly analysis of energy levels in the state, and was provided to Mr Groom on Wednesday.

A Hydro  representative  said the modelling assumed that the Tamar Valley Power Station would reopen on January 20  and that the broken Basslink cable  would be fixed within 60 days.

Mr Groom said Hydro continued to do an outstanding job in  managing a challenging situation.

‘‘As I have said consistently on this issue, the current water storages, dry conditions and Basslink outage present a difficult and challenging circumstance which will require prudent and careful management,’’ he said.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Tasmania is likely to experience a wetter than average January to March, after the state experienced its driest spring on record in 2015.

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