Falling reservoir levels strain Hydro Tasmania’s supply

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Australian utility Hydro Tasmania has confirmed that water reserves at its hydroelectric power plants will likely drop below previously estimated levels in a report submitted to the state’s government earlier this week.

According to CEO Steve Davy, reservoirs will fall to near 13.5% capacity during April and even more during Australia’s winter season.

“Over the past three months, inflows have been just above half the level of average inflows,” Davy said. “If inflows continue to be just above half of average through June, we expect storages will get down to around 12% and hold at that level.”

Hydro Tasmania is heavily dependent on its hydro fleet, operating 30 projects that have a cumulative output capacity of more than 2,600 MW. Water used by the projects comes from six major catchment areas and a system of more than 50 dams.

Still, Davy said he remains hopeful the coming months will yield more water.

“It always rains in our catchments in winter and there is no reason to believe this winter will be any different,” Davy said.

Concerns over falling reservoir levels have been compounded by the failure of the Basslink interconnector cable, which links Tasmania’s power grid to Australia’s national grid. The cable, which allowed for the supply of about 40% of the state’s required energy, has been offline since late December due to a tear.

Hydro Tasmania said it has been able to meet demand with other generating sources, primarily including diesel and gas.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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