THE Tamar Valley Power Station’s largest turbine will be out of action for two weeks in the middle of winter when energy demand is at its peak.
The gas combined cycle unit is due for maintenance, which is being held off until after Basslink’s return to service date in mid-June.
The state’s energy crisis will on Thursday be the subject of a Senate inquiry.
Greens Senator Nick McKim plans to raise the gas unit’s repairs with Energy Minister Matthew Groom, who is fronting the inquiry.
“This is a significant loss of generation capacity at a time when Tasmania is gripped by an energy crisis,” Senator McKim said.
Hydro Tasmania said the government’s energy supply plan was “robust” and the short-term unavailability of the gas unit was anticipated and not considered to be a substantial event.
A Hydro spokeswoman said the works were being deliberately held off until June when Basslink was back up and running.
The gas unit provides 208 megawatts of energy, which is more than the capacity of all the diesel generators being installed in the state.
This is a significant loss of generation capacity at a time when Tasmania is gripped by an energy crisisTasmanian Greens Senator Nick McKim
Senator McKim said Mr Groom needed to explain why the works were not completed last year when the station laid dormant.
“We understand that the work needs to be completed by June or the warranty will be voided,” he said.
“It’s all very well for Hydro Tasmania to say that the works will be done once Basslink comes back online, but the completion date for the Basslink repair has repeatedly blown out.”
Labor Senator Carol Brown has taken a swipe at the government for “shielding” Hydro staff, who will not be appearing.
The inquiry will hear from a range of stakeholders, including Bell Bay Aluminium’s Ray Mostogl and Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council chief executive Wayne Bould.
Mr Groom has said Hydro staff should not be distracted during the energy situation.