Wednesday, 28 October 2009

New power station will never run dry

Hobart Mercury
Tuesday 27/10/2009 Page: 14

THE new gas-fired Tamar Valley Power Station would give Tasmania energy security for the long term, Premier David Bartlett said yesterday at its official opening. Mr Bartlett said the Tasmanian energy system would have been in real trouble if it had not been for the $451 million power station, parts of which began operating six months ago, and recent good rainfall. The State Government bought the partly constructed power station from Babcock and Brown in August last year when that company was hit by debt problems.

The station is capable of generating a total 390 MWs of electricity, using gas imported across the Tasmanian Gas Pipeline from Victoria. Power will be sold into the national market over the Basslink undersea electricity cable. Mr Bartlett said the station would add to the competitive nature of Tasmanian electricity prices. "This provides for competition to the traditional Hydro generation and overall competition will minimise prices over tine," the Premier said. But he stopped short of saying it would result in cheaper prices for Tasmanian householders.

Aurora Energy chief executive Peter Davis said the station would supply 14% of the state's needs. Emissions would be lower than those of the former Bell Bay thermal station. Dr Davis said state-of-the-art technology would help the station produce competitively priced power. "At the end of the day it is the market which sets the price and we are working very hard to be competitive." he said. "By putting in place a gasfired power station, we can avoid some of the high prices that occurred when the Hydro ran out of water due to drought."