The challenge to the customer
From Spring 2015 until late Autumn 2016, Tasmania faced an unprecedented set of circumstances. Record low rainfall between September 2015 and April 2016, combined with an extended outage of the Basslink interconnector, resulted in severe pressure on Tasmania’s hydro storages.
Hydro Tasmania’s dams were sitting at 22.6 per cent capacity at the beginning of the year and were predicted to fall further to around 13.6 per cent, with average inflows.
The grid demand of Tasmania is around 10,000 GWh per year and the state’s hydropower assets generate an average of 9,000 GWh of renewable energy per year. Power shortages and disruptions are a major threat to commerce and industry and hugely inconvenient to the public at large.
The failure of the interconnector, and growing uncertainty about when it would return to service, meant that Hydro Tasmania had to take immediate action. They turned to temporary diesel generation as the most immediate and effective backup.
Aggreko immediately mobilised 24 MW of diesel generation equipment through Devonport in northwest Tasmania, to support the Tamar Valley plant, which was restarted to step in for the broken Basslink.
While the first 24 MW was being installed, an engineering team simultaneously designed a second 24 MW installation at Meadowbank, and worked closely with Hydro Tasmania to find suitable locations for the remaining 60 MW, bringing a total of 108 MW in the first phase.
Both installations comprised of diesel-powered generators in a standard six pack with a connection voltage of 11kV.
Overall around 220MW of temporary diesel generation was installed to ensure adequate energy supply for the state.
Benefits to the customer
Hydro Tasmania wanted to prevent energy shortages across the island and looked for a solution that could be implemented quickly and efficiently.
Aggreko’s ability to secure 108 MW of fleet to be available at short notice and the company’s flexibility to work from Hydro Tasmania’s offices in the capital Hobart, while they were designing the solution, were both factors.
Aggreko was able to supply safe and reliable solutions, ensuring all environmental issues of concern were addressed wherever possible.