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Preventing blackouts with backup power supply during a local power crisis

Client: Hydro Tasmania

Location: Tasmania, Australia

Sectors: Utilities

The Challenge

Urgent power backup in severe weather

Tasmania uses about 1,200 MW electricity every year, 60 per cent of which comes from hydropower. When a particularly severe drought brought Hydro Tasmania’s reservoir levels down to an all-time low, they knew the island would face severe blackouts unless they could get extra power, fast. To make things worse, the Basslink undersea power cable that connects Tasmania to the mainland National Electricity Market (NEM) had also broken down, so they were running out of options. 

Project Fact File

Dependence on hydropower 60%
Tasmania's annual energy supply 1200MW
Brought in a short notice 108MW
Aggreko provided a very strong and capable team. They also had the experience of going from a clean site to a fully operational power station and flexibly responding to the change in demands that the project had as it become more time critical. What we were impressed with was that Aggreko had a pedigree of working in these quick ramp-up situations many times before and we definitely benefited from that.

CEO, Hydro Tasmania

Steve Davy

The Solution

108 MW of diesel-generated power

Our team came up with a two-part plan that would shore up the existing infrastructure, while installing new temporary power sources. First, we brought in 24 MW of diesel generators to support the Tamar Valley plant, which would stand in for the broken Basslink. In the meantime, our engineers designed and installed a temporary 24 MW power plant at Meadow Bank and worked closely with Hydro Tasmania to find environmentally approved locations for another 60 MW, bringing the total to 108 MW. Eventually, we installed 108 MW of power in total – enough to produce 12 per cent of the island's power supply during the dry season. 

The Impact

Producing 12 per cent of the state's power during the autumn months

By being able to respond fast at a large scale, we helped Tasmania avoid months of blackouts, which would have been a disaster for the state's economy. Two factors were essential here: the fact we were able to bring in 108 MW of generators at short notice from our depots, and our team's ability to work closely with Hydro Tasmania in their Hobart headquarters, solving problems together quickly as one unified team.