Tasmania's Power Shortage Reaches Crisis Levels

Up until recently, 30 percent of Tasmania's power was coal generated -- imported via the Basslink power and communications cable from the mainland -- while 60 per cent came from the island's hydro-electric dams and stations, and a final 10 per cent was from wind farms.

But the Basslink cable broke in December, and dam levels are threatening record lows, leaving the future of Tasmania's power in uncertainty.


Accounting for 60 per cent of Tasmania's power usage, industrial energy users on the island have been asked to ration their usage, resulting in fears of job cuts from employees. Contractors have already reported being asked not to come into work.

With the Basslink repairs starting over the weekend, but expected to take months to complete, dam levels are continuing to plummet from 15.5 per cent capacity towards a record 14 per cent low. 200 diesel generators have been shipped to Tasmania from the mainland, with more to come. An old, expensive gas-fired power station has been brought back into operation, and chemical cloud seeding to encourage rainfall will soon begin.

Labor and the Greens have called for a formal Senate inquiry in order to gain more information and recommendations on the best way to deal with Tasmania's energy crisis. One of the big questions is whether dam levels have been driven down by Tasmania's selling clean power to the mainland, with hydroelectric energy being exported right up until the Basslink cable breakage.

Households have been guaranteed they will not be asked to ration water usage.


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    Tasmania's Energy Shortage Reaches Record Lows

    Don't you mean the exact opposite??? Makes more sense to me to say something like: "Tasmania's Energy Shortage Reaches Record Highs" or "Tasmania's Energy Levels Reach Record Lows"...

      I get why that headline could be confusing! We've updated it now, thanks.

    It's worth mentioning that they got greedy. Just before the link failed they were emptying their dams deliberately because they were making a big profit from selling hydro back to the main land because of the price system for green energy.

    But the rains missed Tasmania in spring. They then had to turn from exporters to importers, infact they started drawing more from bass link than ever as hydro generation plumeted. And this is probably a big contributing reason for its failure.

    If they had of simply kept their water for themselves they would have had plenty of time and water to repair the link.

    They quickly fired up coal and then gas again. I Senate enquiry would be meaningless, as bass link is due to be repaired soon and they have generations to cover the time or takes to fire up the old gas stations.

    I wrote the premier of Tasmania a year ago suggesting a million wind turbines desalinating sea water and turning it into hydrogen and oxygen on a massive scale as clean and exportable fuel for china.
    idiot declared they had coastline protection legislation and there was no way in hell they wanted change.
    tasmania can fall off the continental shelf for all i care.

    Is this Gizmodo AU or NZ?

      Gizmodo...world spanning commonwealth to which the USA is not a member.

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