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Tasmania calls in coal-fired power as renewables run low


Source: The Australia, 7 Dec 2015

Tasmania, which prides itself on being the renewable energy state, is relying on imported coal-fired power for up to 40 per cent of its needs, with low rainfall cutting hydro-electric generation.

The state often boasts that it is virtually 100 per cent powered by renewable wind and hydro, using the Basslink undersea cable to export as much energy as it imports.

But the government-owned Hydro Tasmania, one of Australia’s largest renewable energy generators, revealed yesterday that lower-than-forecast spring rainfall had depleted hydro dams to just 26 per cent of capacity.

As a result, the state was using the Basslink cable to import mostly coal-fired power from Victoria, with imported energy making up 38 per cent of the state’s use.

Hydro Tasmania chief executive Steve Davy denied that the situation — which will hit the company’s bottom line — was a blow to those hoping renewable energy could provide a reliable replacement for coal in the near future.