Hydro Tasmania has announced that it has selected Lake Cethana as its preferred pumped hydro site, with the project now set to progress to final feasibility stage. 

The announcement comes as part of a major step forward for Tasmania’s renewable energy ambitions, unveiled today by the Tasmanian and Australian Governments. Hydro Tasmania welcomed the Prime Minister, Tasmanian Premier and Federal and State Energy Ministers to Trevallyn Power Station to announce a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two governments. The MOU outlines a shared path forward and further certainty for progressing Marinus Link – the new 1500MW interconnector between Tasmania and mainland Australia – and the Cethana pumped hydro and hydropower upgrade opportunities in the existing portfolio that form the Battery of the Nation.

Pumped hydro opportunities at Lake Cethana and Lake Rowallan in Tasmania’s North West and another near Tribute Power Station on the West Coast were prioritised for assessment on a range of technical, environmental, social and economic factors as part of Hydro Tasmania’s feasibility study.

“Lake Cethana is our preferred site that will now progress to final feasibility assessment. This will involve more on-the-ground investigations and local community engagement to look more closely at technical, social and environmental factors,” Hydro Tasmania’s Chief Executive Officer Evangelista Albertini said. “We are keen to hear what the community has to say and to seek their input on what matters to them before our plans are finalised. “Completing the feasibility assessment on the Cethana project will be the next step towards developing a pumped hydro project that can deliver positive outcomes for local communities and Tasmania, and support Australia’s transition to clean energy.”

Albertini said Hydro Tasmania would continue to progress its work to align the Cethana pumped hydro opportunity to the second 750MW Marinus Link cable development. This cable will trigger the need for a pumped hydro development to provide the cost competitive deep storage that will be required for reliable electricity supplies as more variable renewable energy permeates the grid.

The first 750MW cable will unlock hundreds of megawatts of existing and available latent capacity in the current hydro system that can support the market transition. It will also trigger upgrades to the existing hydro fleet to increase capacity, which includes a potential redevelopment of the Tarraleah power scheme.

“Having a portfolio of opportunities places Hydro Tasmania in a great place to respond to the future capacity and storage needs of the NEM. Combining our significant hydropower and pumped hydro capacity with low-cost wind and solar gives Tasmania a strong competitive advantage,” Albertini said.

Hydro Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation initiative has been supported with $5millionin funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).