The North-West Coast stands to win big from plans for pumped hydro

HYDRO VISION: Politicians, engineers and investors at the Cethana Dam. Picture: Paul Scambler
HYDRO VISION: Politicians, engineers and investors at the Cethana Dam. Picture: Paul Scambler

The North-West Coast will be the big winner in the pumped hydro project announced on Wednesday at Cethana Dam.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told a group at the dam that the pumped hydro project would bring money and jobs to the region.

“With this study there’s an opportunity to create 3000 new jobs in Tasmania, attract billions of dollars in new investment and to develop pumped hydro,” he said.

WATER RAM: One of the rams which can turn off the water inside the Cethana Dam. Picture: Leah McBey

WATER RAM: One of the rams which can turn off the water inside the Cethana Dam. Picture: Leah McBey

Of the eight lakes named on the list of sites, all but two are in the North-West Coast, including Lake Cethana, which topped the list with five possible pumped hydro options.The next step was to narrow the 14 options down to five or six.

The options should be finalised within months, with the first projects off to a start within the year.

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Mr Frydenberg stressed that the proposed second Bass Interconnector was a crucial part of the pumped hydro future, both for Tasmania and the mainland.

“We committed $10 million and the state government committed $10 million for a joint feasibility study due later this year.

“It's in Tasmania’s interests to have a second interconnector, and in the interests of the people on the mainland.

He said the nation’s energy system was in transition as more and more renewable power was being generated.

“We need to balance that volatility out with more reliable dispatchable power and this is where pumped hydro makes a difference.

“More than 97 per cent of world’s storable energy is in pumped hydro.”

INTO THE DEEP: The Cethana Dam operations lie deep underground, accessed by tunnel. Picture: Leah McBey

INTO THE DEEP: The Cethana Dam operations lie deep underground, accessed by tunnel. Picture: Leah McBey

Hydro Tasmania chief executive Steve Davy said his company’s vision was for Tasmania to become the renewable energy hub of southern Australia.

“Tasmania has the potential to double its hydro output and become the battery of the nation,” he said.

“We will narrow those 14 sites down to five or six executable options over the coming months.

“If we execute those five or six options we will have doubled the installed hydro capacity of Tasmania.

Second Bass interconnector crucial

Mr Davy said the economic analysis showed that the combined potential of hydro and wind power plus a new interconnector made the state a very cost competitive supplier of dispatchable, renewable energy for Australia.

He said the project could take up to $5 billion of investment, with up to 3000 jobs over 10 to 15 years.

Premier Will Hodgman said the report showed the state could become the renewable energy state and the nation’s renewable energy battery.

“It will unlock extraordinary investment opportunities and support jobs in regional Tasmania.” 

“I want to affirm our commitment to Tasmania being 100 per cent renewable energy self-sufficient, and for Tasmania to have the lowest regulated power prices of anywhere in the country.

“Tasmania has invested so much in renewable energy, which is such an important and valued commodity, we are going to reap the benefit of that,” he said.

This story The North-West Coast stands to win big from plans for pumped hydro first appeared on The Advocate.

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