Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Basslink update 5/3/2016

Map data ©Google imagery 2016 ©2016 TerraMetrics. https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/shipid:171704/zoom:10

The good news is:- We found the fault! (Square symbol in the middle of Bass Strait)

The bad news is:- When we cut the cable the pressure that came out of it was phenomenal!

It flipped the vessel around in the Strait similar to when you turn on a garden hose!

It was scary; almost to the point of feeling some of that warm leakage current.

Just per chance we have a time stamped video to show what happened.

Map data ©Google Imagery 2016 ©2016 Cnea/Spot Image Digital Globe Landsat

Then it twigged. This had us seriously thinking, the cable must be full of water.

Phew! And no wonder all our water storage levels are going down. More leakage current!

They never listen; submarine cables require a $10 pressure relief valve, not all that fancy electrical protection stuff.

Watch the video HERE (err doesn’t work) …

• so go HERE: http://cleanairtas.com/smokewatch/basslink5.3.16.wmv

Peter in Comments HERE What if an entire state in one of the world’s wealthiest countries was to run out of electricity? It’s a question Tasmanians have been pondering – initially with humour, but increasingly with eyebrows arched – since late last year. … He says Tasmania has missed opportunities to build more wind farms, which are a good back-up for hydro generation. Northern Tasmania has a better wind resource than South Australia and Victoria, which have invested more heavily. The Age, HERE

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. William Boeder

    March 18, 2016 at 1:17 am

    Hello Clive, an interesting email has just arrived in my Gmail inbox, funnily it was from the headquarters of Entura.
    What do you suggest Clive, should I send this email advice off to Matthew Groom marked for his personal attention?

    After all Mr Groom may not have had sufficient time to consult with one of the World’s leaders in Hydro Energy risk and assessment.

    Word around town has it that Mathew Groom has been busier than a hungry Fox in a fowl house.

  2. Clive Stott

    March 8, 2016 at 1:17 am

    Personally I don’t think they want to find the fault. It could turn out to be a can of worms!

    If you want to get into submarine power cable fault finding go here: https://www.google.com.au/#q=finding+faults+in+submarine+power+cables.

    Some say it differs a lot from HV fault finding on land. Not sure I agree with them.

    Not sure either about the ‘next phase’. Already we have a few red phases.

  3. Clive Stott

    March 8, 2016 at 1:13 am

    Imagine Garry when they grapple the Basslink cable, drag it onto the deck of the Ile De Re and it turns out to be one of those electric eels they have been hunting for contingency.

    They will be pin- pointed with 600 volts if one of those 20Kg, 2.0 meter eels gets hold of them, but then I guess, as we are being told, it will be a fluid fault!

    Now don’t forget today they said they are going to slice it up and head back to Geelong. Must be some sort of ‘do’ they have planned.
    This fits in because the electric eel is not actually an eel it is a KNIFEFISH.

    Baked eel or baked Basslink? Possibly both.

    How come the word contingency only gets mentioned after we have catastrophic failures in Tasmania?
    (and usually it is only a word with no actual PLAN in place on the books).

    Actually if we joined a few of those eels together in series (keeping it electrical) we could import the power to do some serious pumping of what water we have left in Tasmania.
    If they pumped it around to where it cannot be accessed the storage levels would not go down by 0.6m in a week. Problem solved Matt can rest easy..

    Approximately 98Km is 100 Km in my book.
    We were told 100Km back in December!
    You notice the distance is getting shorter? If we wait a few more months they will find said ‘fault’ on dry land.

    I am surprised we haven’t had planes up looking for the fault;-) They make good press and it would show we are doing something, anything, especially when our import/export meters are silent!

    If we look back at the courses the cable layer took it didn’t appear to be participating much in any fault locating process.
    Perhaps they were mapping the seabed for Basslink2 or looking for MH370.

    If they were looking for that cute little, ghost-like, never seen before, octopus that has been named Casper, someone else beat them to it.

    Things only got serious around that cable fault area it would seem a few days ago (about the time of this main article in fact).
    Karl in #1 could probably verify this with his screen shots.


  4. Garry Stannus

    March 7, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Clive (#16): while the media are today announcing Basslink’s fault location update…

    the ABC’s: Basslink homes in on underwater cable fault
    the Mercury’s Basslink out until late May
    & the Examiner’s Basslink cable fault found

    I suggest that the location is at a point north of George Town and west of Loccota (on Flinders Island). Having reviewed the various passes of the Ile de Re (readers: see my #10 for how-to-review details), it seems obvious that ‘they’ judge that the fault is at a point to the west of Loccota. It also seems obvious that an exact location however cannot be pinpointed by them. Please, fellow readers, study the language of the Media Statement:

    ”Basslink has today announced that it has refined the probable fault location and would proceed to the next phase which involves cutting the cables…

    “Due to the complex nature of the fault, including the lack of visible damage, the team may need to undertake additional cutting to narrow the location of fault…

    “The probable fault location has been narrowed down to approximately 98 km from the Tasmanian coast. Subject to weather conditions, it is anticipated that the cables will be cut within the next week…”

    Rather than actually hauling up a piece of squirting water hose (see Clive’s article’s witty “similar to when you turn on a garden hose!”) which will flop all over the deck, I imagine that a section (perhaps of up to a kilometre in length?) will be excised (though there will be potential moisturisation problems associated with cutting the cable ), while those searchers, having been unsuccessful in the pinpoint part of the operation, now have to take up an entire suspect section of the cable. With that large section of off-cut cable on board , they will head off to Geelong to do some analysis, and then, if the fault is identified/explicated (in Geelong), presumably they will return to the Bass Strait and stitch-on a new section of cable. All that by late May. Still Bryan Green avoids accepting that he was firstly responsible for the sell-of of our water resources. Still Matthew Groom fails to adequately explain and minister … in my opinion.

  5. Clive Stott

    March 7, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Basslink update today

    Delays, delays, they make it sound like heart surgery. I think we need to do a by-pass on Basslink and stand on our own two feet.

    Basslink2 could fall over just the same, stop wasting good money on bad.

  6. Bryan Green MR posted by editor

    March 7, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Bryan Green MP
    Labor Leader 8 March 2016
    Basslink repair still months away as pressure mounts on major businesses

     Basslink won’t be fixed until at least the end of May
     Bell Bay Aluminium under extreme pressure
     Groom’s mistakes are costing Tasmania

    Today’s update on the repair of the Basslink cable is very concerning.

    Labor Leader Bryan Green said with no fixed repair date, the energy crisis will inevitably worsen over the coming months.

    “Basslink won’t be back up and running until at least the end of May,” Mr Green said.

    “That’s an outage almost three months longer than the Government’s original prediction of 60 days.

    “Basslink still has not identified the cause of the fault. That is very concerning.

    “We do not know the size of the piece of cable that will be cut.

    “Further delays could push the repair of Basslink into the middle of winter.

    “Every week that Basslink is offline, Matthew Groom’s mistakes will cost Tasmanians millions of dollars.

    Bryan Green said comments made by Bell Bay Aluminium General Manager Ray Mostogl should sound alarm bells for Minister Groom.

    Mr Mostogl told ABC 936: “Right now we are getting to a point where this is as low as we can operate.

    “If we were to take any more power off we would have to be cutting some of those furnaces out.”

    “Mr Groom’s decision to decommission the Tamar Valley Power Station is becoming more expensive by the day,” Mr Green said.

    “Labor warned that the Liberal Party’s short sightedness would cost jobs and investment.

    “We were ridiculed by the Liberals but our worst fears have now been realised. Jobs are on the line.”

  7. Chris

    March 7, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    According to the LNP/ABC Minister Matthew Groom indicated the longer term plan could include financial incentives for households to install solar panels and a proposal to build a second Basslink interconnector.

    Well well well we are now sorry that Abbott scrapped the carbon Tax and why is there not a definite policy to increase the woeful feed in tariff, as i suggested to Mafew some days ago, to enable the destructed solar industry to phoenix-like rise from the Liberal coal induced ashes?

    A rise in feed in tariffs is necessary, or do we expect (as now) that people will install Solar to sell to the HEC at 5 cents a unit when the HEC can sell it at 5 times the price without one finger being lifted in their ivory towers and the solar owner using the meagre tariff to consult a psychiatrist to get self worth for his stupid decision?

    I suggested that Harris resign and he did, now will the solar installers be encouraged to ramp up again and install 15,000 solar units in the next year and when added to the 20,00 already existing in Tasmania as it may go towards Tasmania having a bank of energy supplied by Solar and increased water storage and give us less reliance on carbon producing diesel, coal and (GOD HELP US) biomass or as it could be described Harris formula energy degeneration.

  8. Greg James

    March 7, 2016 at 10:04 am

    It is amazing that no conservation action plan has been presented to households by the government. No remedial action to train the domestic user to reduce daily demand and no training for brown outs then black outs. Is this a typical keep your heads in the sand scenario while the whole state roars headlong towards a catastrophe?
    I am perplexed as to why the householder has been told to take no action, do they just presume we are all bureaucrats with no sense of responsibility.
    Somebody do something, turn off your garden sprinklers and pull the plug on that little red light in the garage that is always on. When is the appropriate time to panic? I will disconnect the mobile phone charger in the car but will that be enough?

  9. Clive Stott

    March 7, 2016 at 1:01 am

    Basslink updates so far:

    Australia’s Biggest DC Link
    Joska Ferencz
    Technical Services Manager
    Basslink Pty Ltd
    https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/sites/default/files/shado/Divisions/Newcastle Division/Branches/Electrical Branch/basslink.pdf

  10. Matthew Groom, MR posted by Editor

    March 6, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Matthew Groom, Minister for Energy
    Energy Supply Plan
    Through our Energy Supply Plan the Government is doing everything necessary to maintain energy security.
    The Energy Supply Plan outlines the circumstances we face, notably, low rainfall and the ongoing Basslink outage, and the actions we are taking to manage the situation.
    Over the past week, moderate rainfall resulted in positive inflows to the North-West catchments, slowing the draw on those storages.
    As of today, Hydro’s water levels are at 15.5 per cent, a reduction of 0.6 per cent during the previous week.
    We remain in close contact with Basslink and we anticipate that they will provide a further market update shortly.
    The Energy Supply Plan continues to be rolled out, and this week we will begin to bring online diesel generation. At this stage:
    • Prioritised sites are Catagunya Power Station, George Town Sub-station and Meadowbank Power Station, with all sites anticipated to be operating before the end of March;
    • Delivery of generators continues, with the Catagunya site receiving 24 MW and the George Town substation receiving 21 MW on site. Generation from Catagunya will commence this week;
    • The remaining generators required to meet the 100MW end of March target have been sourced; and
    • Two preferred suppliers have been appointed for the fuel supply for the Southern sites and sites outside the Bell bay region (BP) and the Georgetown/Bell Bay sites (United Petroleum).
    Hydro Tasmania has also concluded a further commercial arrangement with TEMCO to reduce its energy consumption temporarily. Again, this was a voluntary reduction and does not impact on permanent jobs or the long-term viability of the business.
    This brings the total load reduction at this time to 115 MW, made up of:
    Bell Bay Aluminium – 40 MW
    TEMCO – 65 MW
    Norske Skog – 40 MW for one week, which is equivalent to 10 MW over a month
    Hydro has advised that due to logistical issues, the return to service of the Trent Unit has been delayed by around two to three weeks. Under the revised schedule it is expected to return to the Tamar Valley Power Station during April.
    Tomorrow in Parliament, I will make a Ministerial Statement to provide information on the current circumstances and to outline the next steps the Government will take in addressing the challenges ahead of us.
    Hydro and the Government will provide regular updates on the Energy Supply Plan as the situation evolves. Tasmanians can be assured we will do everything necessary to maintain energy security.

  11. Garry Stannus

    March 6, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Thanks for this Clive (and Karl too, for his tip). I’ve been following the ship on its passage from Auckland to Bass Strait, where it headed south to a position west of the Furneaux and north of George Town. Then it went to Geelong, before returning to the Furneaux group. Its track seems very much like what i imagine a search pattern to be, or perhaps it is running different tests on different days/passes.




    Show track options

    plus tick the

    show track box option

    and with some judicious zooming and playing speed…

    one can view the daily path of the vessel. Also, the date contained at the end of the url can be changed, and thus shows another day’s movements. Some days don’t seem to give a result, some do.

  12. phill Parsons

    March 6, 2016 at 7:07 am

    Nothing explains the failure to take the KI option. WA is now receiving energy and desalinated water from its wave power installation.

    Look at the wave forecasts for the coast and Strait, very rarely dead calm.

    Remember it was only a few years ago it was suggested water was exporter via a pipeline.

  13. Clive Stott

    March 5, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Slight techno there with file size for the download so in the meantime go to http://cleanairtas.com/smokewatch/basslink5.3.16.wmv to watch the movie of these poor people being pushed around in the ocean like that when they cut the cable.

    The original web site credits are posted above in the main article.

    Such pressure!
    How many meters of head between there and our water storages? Hmmm..quite a few PSI!
    And very little resistance from those to be!

    Actually, they seem to have been the only ones under pressure. Everything on land down here in Tas is going well, we are all relaxed and dodging along like nothing is wrong.
    “I think they bought it, I think they bought it”

    We have A PLAN, that is the main thing.

    #1 Karl: Yes, better than watching TV. Gathering electric eels, part of the contingency.
    It is not another freezer boat is it?

    #7: Chris: they proposed to use sea water as the return but were required to install an additional conductor.

    Just be careful folks if they start pumping dry nitrogen back our way to dry that cable out!

  14. Chris

    March 5, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Seems to me that if there is water in the cable surrounds and sea water is used as a return conductor then this type of fault is greater than you, I or Groom have been advised and it constitutes a very long short circuit (pun intended) and a structural failure of the over a great distance, if not all the undersea section.
    Were Will an Mafew in Canberra asking for a new cable courtesy of a pre election grant from MT?

  15. Chris

    March 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    You call that humour, since when has there been currents in the cable, its shocking to relate but we at ohm are about to watch our accounts, just as you should watch yours.
    Seriously folks if theres water in da pipe will we all be flush or will Will ask MT for a new cable ?…all together now…
    Water way to go.

  16. Got Me a Lake

    March 5, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    I would like to see an in-depth investigation by A Current Affair …

  17. Ted Mead

    March 5, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Libs were trying to export woodchips through the submarine cable to another destination where there is an FSC export terminal.

    Maybe Mr Harriss was caught out ? – hence the secrecy of the all the recent shenanigans???????

  18. Luigi

    March 5, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Thanks, Clive. Have you told Matthew Groom’s office? I feel another renounceable Media Release coming on.

  19. Pete Godfrey

    March 5, 2016 at 11:57 am

    You had me worried there Clive, for a minute I thought that they had cut the Gas Pipeline.
    Now wouldn’t that add to the fiasco.

  20. Karl Stevens

    March 5, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I took some screenshots this weekend of the Il De Re ‘past track’ from Marinetraffic.com. It shows where the vessel has been in the previous 12 hours and it’s going around in some strange loops and circles.
    The vessel seems to be in the same general area as it has been for about a month but instead of going up and down the Basslink cable it’s doing something else at the moment.
    Clive, zoom in on the vessel a bit more if you have not already done so and click on it till you see ‘past track’.

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