One of Tasmania’s oldest hydro schemes could see its capacity more than doubled if a feasibility assessment proves favourable.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has provided $2.5 million, matched by Hydro Tasmania, for a feasibility assessment into upgrading or replacing the Tarraleah Power Station. The project would also improve other parts of the Tarraleah scheme.

The proposal would more than double the scheme’s capacity from 104MW to 220 MW – contributing to the overall boost of 2,500 MW planned for Tasmania under Battery of the Nation.

Replacement would also transform the Tarraleah scheme into a state-of-the-art hydropower asset, perfectly suited for Australia’s changing energy system. By converting the station to flexible operation, instead of just base load, it could flexibly boost output at times of high market demand.

The Tarraleah scheme in the Central Highlands was commissioned in the 1930s and produces about 630GWh of energy each year – about 6.5% of Hydro Tasmania’s total production.

Feasibility work into the preferred option (upgrade or replace) is expected to take about 18 months. The redevelopment could cost up to $500 million over three years, and support hundreds of engineering and construction jobs in the Derwent Valley and across Tasmania.