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


Tasmania’s Energy Crisis

High and Dry: Great Lake between western ‘shore’ and Reynolds Island

FRIDAY, March 14 …

Guardian: Tasmanian power crisis reveals urgent need for more renewable energy With Tasmania’s hydropower plants idle due to low rainfall, and a faulty cable connecting the state to the mainland grid, it’s clear a better long-term solution is needed

By the end of the first week of February, 2016, Tasmania’s water-energy supplies had dwindled to just 18.26% of capacity. By the end of the second week, the 15 Feb 2016, that figure had fallen to 17.35%.

By the end of the third week, it reached 16.8%. The state’s two main water energy systems, the Great Lake and Gordon-Pedder Lakes are now below levels at which both environmental and water quality risks may have arisen*.

The Lake Gordon-Pedder system has dropped to 9.8% energy capacity. Our Great Lake system is reduced to 12.3%. This figure is below the low point reached during the Millennium drought, when the Great Lake fell to 16.7% of its capacity.

Tasmania obtains its energy from domestic sources – Hydro (e.g. the Great Lake), Wind (e.g. Musselroe and Woolnorth), Gas turbine (e.g. Tamar Power Station) and Embedded generation (e.g. rooftop solar panels).

A further source of energy is from the Loy Yang power station at Loy Yang, Victoria, which is transmitted via the Basslink cable. On December 20 of last year (2015) this cable developed a fault and ceased transmitting power to Tasmania. It remains [27 Feb 2016] out of service, and our Energy Minister, Matthew Groom, cannot tell us when it will be fixed …

Download to read the full article …


*Garry Stannus celebrated turning 65 by taking his camera, broken ‘Mark III’ digital and some spare batteries up to the Great Lake on the 14th of February. He wanted to see what the Great Lake actually looked like, in this time of energy crisis. He operates on his own, though has been known to mix with certain groups in the past, as the occasion arose. E.g. Bracknell-Liffey / Taytitikitheeker Landcare Groups, TAP (Tasmanians against the Pulp Mill) Wilderness Action Group, Code Green, Friends of the Tamar Valley, the Greens, the Wildos… In other words, he’s a greenie. He contributes to Tasmanian Times with occasional articles and lengthily in some of TT’s comments threads. He does this because he wants to support TT, since it is the public’s only medium to communicate the information that is often so tightly controlled/editorialised by the mainstream press. He is a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather; he is proud to have a few friends and likes Fresh Cafe, Launceston. He lives in Liffey and Launceston and rides a Southern Star (KMart=$130) around the town since his Malvern Star original Made-in-Melbourne model was knocked off out of his backyard, one dark night…

John Lawrence’s blog, Tasfintalk, has several articles on Basslink … HERE

ABC: Prospect of tapping Lake Pedder for water prompts calls for it to be restored to pre-flood state

• Clive Stott in Comments: We were told we were going to be the food bowl, nobody told us we would be the dust bowl when they were going for it to deplete our water storages. The Bass Strait Triangle soap opera keeps going on, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_Strait. Submarine cables in this area have a habit of failing and we are foolishly even considering another one. Go figure.

• See Peter Fagan, Comment 33 …

• Peter in Comments: ABC: Tasmanian dairy farmer fears power price hikes could put him out of business

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


  1. Garry Stannus

    March 15, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    As of the 14th March, our total water energy in storage is now at 14.8% of capacity. The Great Lake is now at 11.3% water energy capacity (18.07 metres below full), Pedder-Gordon now down to 7.4%, (Pedder being 1.39 metres below full, while Gordon is 45.17 metres below full).

    Five weeks ago the total water energy in storage was 18.26% of maximum capacity. In those five weeks, we dropped some 3.46% of what energy our total storages would hold … if full.

    To look at the situation differently, we can calculate that we have lost nearly one fifth of the water that we still had at the end of the first week in February. 18.95% of our then remaining Feb water energy has now gone. I recall Matthew Groom in the aftermath of the Basslink outage telling us there was nothing to worry about. Now if I’m not mistaken he welcomes a Parliamentary Inquiry. So do I. I will want to make a submission which will point the finger at him as Minister, and at his predecessor, Bryan Green, who oversaw the original sell-off of our ‘carbon tax’ water.

    Of the woefully little ‘energy in storage’ remaining at Feb 8th, nearly one fifth of that remainder has now gone. In my opinion, Bryan Green started this mess, when he was Minister for Energy and then Matthew Groom continued it.

  2. Robin Charles Halton

    March 15, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Dear Editor, please provide my email address to Peter Fagan as we may have ongoing communication re Lake Pedder. Cheers from RCH.

    Ed: Done!x

  3. Robin Charles Halton

    March 15, 2016 at 3:29 am

    #99 Peter Fagan,
    Whilst reading your reply I dont appreciate being lectured about my suggestion that water may need to be pumped out of LStC to maintain a reliable supply of potable water for Greater Hobart at the same time supplying electricity to the chain of Power stations on route.

    Judging me from a distance as being anthrocentric and urban is unwise for you!

    Tasmania is facing a severe emergency unless we receive significant rainfall soon.

    Regardless I still support the Pedder revival survey if it were possible during the current crisis or some time in the near future.

    My offer stands, the double sided map based on high resolution colour aerial photos especially done for this massive HEC project early 1970’s measures 950×750 at a scale of 1:50000.

    I may even be kind enough to contact the local Hydro and LINC here in Hobart as well as contacting a few retired HEC staff living here in Hobart, one I know has maintained an HEC inventory of maps and plans during retirement.

    So I understand you are genuinely organising a revival of Lake Pedder campaign including funding without all of the political grandstanding by Bob Brown and the Greens, true of false!

  4. Steve

    March 14, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    In hindsight, it seems that Pedder was probably a watershed for the future of Tasmania.

    If a more gentle approach had been adopted in 1972, the Franklin dispute might have been less divisive, the Green/non-Green divide might have been less acrimonious, cargo cult might have not become the principle industry and perhaps the State might have achieved some of it’s potential.

  5. Peter Fagan

    March 14, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    #99 Hello Robin

    Forgive me for not replying earlier. A long internet outage is my excuse.

    “Draining the lake by up to 2 metres would have no significant effect on the environment, particularly in the shorter term but with Climate Change on our doorstep, we city dwellers come first, we pay the taxes and keep the economy alive.”

    Your point of view on water issues, as on forests, is relentlessly anthropocentric and urban.

    When we humans mismanage a vital resource (in this case water), you discount totally a key purpose of a National Park – protecting nature’s domain from the depredations and resource demands of man.

    In essence, the Green perspective on Tasmania is that this a special place where a balance must be struck between the inherent anthropocentricity of us European settlers and the need for a beautiful, wild landscape to be protected from us. As long as you remain deaf to the need to strike such a balance, you will remain locked in conflict with your Green neighbours.

    Thank you for mentioning the Hydro maps. I would be interested to see them. The editor can put you in touch with me by email. Scans would probably suffice and would be appreciated.

    Excellent graphic representations of the Middle Gordon power scheme are publicly available.

    Firstly in Dick Johnson (ed.) Lake Pedder: Why a National Park must be Saved. Lake Pedder Action Committees of Victoria and Tasmania, 1972, which contains a clear diagram of an alternative configuration of the Middle Gordon power scheme that would have allowed Lake Pedder to be saved.

    Following the flooding of Lake Pedder, equally fine drawings were prepared for The Future of Lake Pedder. Report of Lake Pedder Committee of Enquiry June 1973. The book version, published by the Lake Pedder Action Committee in September 1973, contains clear diagrams of two alternative configurations of the Middle Gordon power scheme that would have allowed Lake Pedder to be saved.



  6. Robin Charles Halton

    March 9, 2016 at 11:41 am

    #95, Peter Fagan, if the drought continues and there is insufficient rain to maintain reasonable aerated flow on the Derwent River, dont be surprised if Lake St Clair is used again to supply our needs for potable water.

    Draining the lake by up to 2 metres would have no significant effect on the environment, particularly in the shorter term but with Climate Change on our doorstep, we city dwellers come first, we pay the taxes and keep the economy alive.

    Tas Water as well as the Hydro need a combined plan ready for action assuming winter rains are not forthcoming.

    There is no way Greater Hobart should suffer boil alerts as could happen due to the expansion of cropping, hopfields, vineyards, orchards, dairying, stock raising and of cause Norske Skog fine paper Mill drawing water from the Lower Derwent all adding to slowing the flow and causing algal blooms particularly in Lake Meadowbank could spread to the water treatment pick up points above New Norfolk.

    The blob CEO that runs Tas Water needs to act pretty soon in my opinion.

    By the way Peter do you have access to those excellent double sided pictorial maps that the HEC produced for Lake Gordon and Lake Pedder in the 1970’s.
    If you are interested I have a well used copy (capable of reprinting) kindly given to me in about 1974 by Eddie Burgess a former NPWS ranger when he was based at Maydena.

    In my opinion a map of this high standard and detail would be a good starting point for someone like yourself who is following up the draining Lake Pedder project assessment.

  7. Shaun

    March 9, 2016 at 12:22 am

    #96 Whilst rationing has not been formally imposed, the 4 largest electricity users have all cut their consumption by various means.

    Bell Bay Aluminium – running the whole plant slower and using about 10% less power. Any further cut would mean actually shutting part of the plant (which has 3 production lines) as such, the trouble there being that it’s difficult and costly to then resume operation at a future time (can be done but costs big $).

    TEMCO – brought forward a maintenance outage of one furnace (there are 4 at the plant) which takes it offline for 3 months. Also have shut down another furnace for 2 months.

    Nyrstar (the zinc works) – cut production and power demand by about 15% for the 3 months of Autumn.

    Norske Skog (Boyer paper mill) – intermittently shutting down the paper making machines at the mill and the associated pulping operation. Presently half the plant (there are two paper production lines at the mill) is offline for a week. More shutdowns are planned but they have paper supply contracts to meet which complicates the timing of shutdowns.

    So they’re doing their bit to save power.

    I wouldn’t like to see outright rationing imposed on small users mostly because it’s hard to implement it in a fair an equitable manner.

    An office worker might be fine showering once every second day but that’s not the case for a manual labourer. Lighting doesn’t use much these days so no point worrying about that. How do we police that nobody’s left the TV or computer running when not using it? Etc.

    An outright % cut to residential and small business use is also problematic and punishes anyone who is already taking steps to minimise their consumption. Those who use a lot could just use less, but if someone has already minimised their use then it seems rather harsh to order them to turn the fridge off if that’s basically all they’ve got. Even harsher if someone didn’t use much power to start with and has come home from hospital with a newborn child or something like that and now needs to use more power.

    I do agree though that everyone should be doing their bit to avoid outright waste. Shops with the outside lights running all day, office computers and monitors left running 24/7, dripping hot water taps and so on. Individually they are small users of energy but collectively it adds up to a significant amount.

    One thing I do think that should definitely be done is to allow expansion of existing solar power systems without those on the 28 cent feed-in rate losing eligibility for that. It only has 2 years and 10 months to run anyway and is about the same cost as diesel generation so it seems silly in the extreme to effectively ban anyone with solar from adding to their solar system if they want to.

  8. John Day

    March 8, 2016 at 10:32 am

    The government have known about the forecast very low rainfall for at least two years. I would like to know what percentage of the power generated in the state over the last two years, and particularly for the last year was exported to the mainland.I believe that the cable matter may well not be fixed any time soon – it may well involve a series of cuts and re-jointing, and even a new cable.The first cut and further measurements will tell the story.
    I understand that 70% of the power generated is supplied to 4 to 10 companies.The government does not want to be seen to introduce power rationing. However, I can not believe that banks, service station, supermarkets, retail shops and car parks are allowed to leave their business lights on all night (other than a small critical number of lights for security reasons) – when they are no potential customers.The same goes for residential customers who, in the circumstances can significantly cut down their power usage. 10% saving is how many diesel generators? Its a state emergency.
    Here is an opportunity for the government to bring together the population in a programme to cut wasteful power usage to meet the challenges. They also must address the alternative energy situation. Its a key part of the equation now and increasingly in the future.

  9. Peter Fagan

    March 8, 2016 at 12:09 am

    #89 Thank you Robin for researching pumping at Lake St Clair.

    The building of a dam at the southern (River Derwent) end of Lake St Clair was the cause of an early skirmish between conservationists and the Hydro-Electric Commission. The dam, completed in 1938, made it possible for the HEC to raise the water level of the lake by three metres, which caused a great deal of damage:

    “As the level of Lake St Clair rose, it flooded the shoreline, drowning the trees and ground-hugging plants growing on the lake-edge. The once-enchanting, picturesque sandy beaches, bays and promontories were eroded away and replaced with a shoreline of tangled, fallen logs and snags. Walking access along the shoreline of the lake became impossible, while the beloved bridge for walkers over the Narcissus River was completely submerged and required rebuilding, and the walking track along parts of the lake had to be re-routed.”

    I quote from Lake Pedder the awakening by Peter C. Sims (self-published, 2012), a marvelous book that I highly recommend to all. Peter discusses the raising of Lake St Clair at pages 13-17.

    At #92 you write:

    “Lowering the level of Lake St Clair in the shorter term should not cause any environmental harm as it was flooding in the past that caused the problems from which the lake is recovering from by natural processes.”

    I doubt it is as simple as that Robin. Sims writes:

    “The long periods of draw-down during summer and drought exposed huge expanses of treeless mudflats at the northern end of the lake and created a windswept dust bowl out of the once-attractive Frankland beaches, and the eroded shoreline was littered with dead trees.”

    I presume these draw-downs resulted from use of the pumping station, which could lower the lake by six metres from its original, pre-dam level, creating a total level range of 9 metres from dam spilling to bottom of pumping range.

    I assume that the pumping station began to fall into disuse when Lake King William and other storages were constructed below Lake St Clair, and was completely abandoned as public pressure forced the Hydro to stop drawing down the lake because of its scenic importance as part of a National Park.

  10. Lyndall Rowley

    March 7, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    To all involved in this particular energy crisis issue:

    I live in Victoria, and looking at the confluence of various stochastic and ‘man-made’ (sorry) events hitting Tassie at the moment, I think you are experiencing a STATE EMERGENCY.

    This needs intervention on a federal scale. Tasmania is part of this great Australian first-world nation, and yet reading about Tasmania Hydro’s plan and resorting to bringing in the diesel generators for an indeterminate time (and therefore indeterminate ballooning cost) reads more like a third-world scenario! How did it ever get to this?

    I love all you guys – you’re all so involved and put great effort into your thinking to find solutions to the problems. Collectively you are a very well informed and intelligent, caring bunch! But this has now gone way beyond the state’s control (I think). It’s also way beyond the sphere of Liberal vs. Labor vs. The Greens, or any political grand-standing and blame-gaming. Coupled with the devastating economic effects and costs of the disease-ridden oyster farm industry, the still-running (?) multiple wildfires across the island, forest fire particulate health concerns, impacts on the tourism industry, forestry woes, lack of water (potable & industry/irrigation?) & its impacts on power/income PLUS looming negative impacts of climate change… this is serious!

    If I’m over-reacting, then please let me know. But I’m worried. Tasmania needs a short-term fix as well as a more reliable & sustainable energy solution into the future. I’ve already twice emailed Josh Frydenberg (Federal Minister for Resources, Energy & Northern Australia), imploring him to ‘intervene’ and address this crisis through investment in energy infrastructure such as a mix of renewables plus gas and other various investments… anyway, I provided the link to the TT article and comments and invited him to read about the issues and suggested possible solutions. (Gee, you’ve got the roaring forties just offshore – you’d think that wind turbines and even wave power would go like the clappers out there).

    It seems that your crisis is mainly going unnoticed on mainland Australia. Yet the Australian nation’s continuing well-being can only be based on all of its component parts functioning well; and I think we’re all obliged to help each other out. If state politicians can’t be relied upon to make the best decisions, or ask for help when it’s actually needed and the situation continues to deteriorate beyond their control, then perhaps the issue needs to be given a much higher & broader public profile. Apart from some investigative journalism like Four Corners looking into the background of your energy crisis, I wonder if a petition on Change.org might create some outside scrutiny and prompt positive action?

    What do you think?

  11. Robert LePage

    March 7, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    The “new” save our bacon plan obviously depends on heavy rainfall in the next few weeks.
    With a thing called global warming, which Tasmanian pollies have not come across before and El Nino, there is a marked lack of rain.
    Now this can be fixed in a couple of ways.
    The first is to seed the clouds with dry ice ( frozen CO2) being sprinkled onto the clouds with quite expensive aircraft.
    The second would be to have rain dances at frequent intervals.
    As there is a shortage of qualified Shamans or witch doctors ( except in Canberra) they would have to be brought in on 547 visas.
    It mighty be a good idea to include a course on rain dancing at UTAS in the future because the situation is not going to improve anytime soon.

  12. Robin Charles Halton

    March 7, 2016 at 11:17 am

    If the drought continues into the winter then the Minister may have to consider authorising the setting up of transportable high volume pumping system at Lake St clair to ensure potable water quality downstream for our capital city as well as extra capacity for Derwent River power generation on route.

    Lowering the level of Lake St Clair in the shorter term should not cause any environmental harm as it was flooding in the past that caused the problems from which the lake is recovering from by natural processes.


    However with Climate Change on our doorstep, given Basslink Pty Ltd is permanently technically broken, the Company itself financially in the red by $42 M over the past two years then they may have to walk away from the Bass Strait connector altogether.

    The retention of the 1940 Art Deco LSC Pumphouse masterpiece of Industrial Heritage would have been a worthwhile move if Hydro had concentrated on its core business instead of running around like chooks with their heads cut off grabbing at so called money making opportunities to comply with the requirements of the National Grid.

    The former Hydro Electric Commission was once the States prize infrastructural asset look at it now as a dis-aggregated mess after the recent years of overly zealous empire building in Napoleonic proportions.

  13. Clive Stott

    March 7, 2016 at 4:12 am

    #87 Garry I was the one that asked,thanks for that.

    So the generators are hired but it hasn’t been made clear how long we can hire them for for $24 million.

    The sums are getting big aren’t they?

    I wonder what the diesel tank capacity is for each generator, ie how long does a tank last before it has to be manually refilled, or whether a bank of generators have been plumbed to a larger central diesel tank?

    One would assume the EPA will be carrying out onsite air monitoring whilst these are running.

  14. Factfinder

    March 7, 2016 at 12:55 am

    RE: #82 + #85

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    Source: http://www.kepinfratrust.com/news.aspx

  15. Robin Charles Halton

    March 7, 2016 at 12:01 am

    #54 Peter Fagan, sorry for the delay in my reply! The HEC pumping infrastructure has not been used since the 1990’s, it has since been removed the 1940 Art deco pumphouse, 900 ft causeway and caretakers building were constructed to a very high degree combining imposing architectural style and strength using boxed concrete to create a usable monument on a lake view that would be world class.

    I presume that the weir down stream still has flow control flood gates that remain operational.

    Lake ST Clair, 2418 ft asl was been used as a source of water supply for the Hydro Electric Commission. A control dam was constructed which has raised the level of the lake by 7 ft and the pumping station enabled the level to be lowered by a further 20ft, thus providing a constant supply of water in the dry seasons.
    The raisng of the level of the lake had submerged several beautiful beaches and killed many lakeside trees.

    The lake is the deepest in Australia in the order of 600ft and glacial in origin, is 10 miles long and averages 1 1/2 miles wide, is the source of the Derwent River and is surrounded by a number of high mountains whose streams serves as the source of the lakes water supply.

    In my opinion by using transportable pumps water from the lake should be pumped in an emergency for power generation as well as maintaining the supply of fresh drinking water in the Derwent River further downstream part of which supplies the capital city with water.

    A constant supply of extra water from Lake St Clair with the end of summer approaching could be endless and assist with resolving the water supply problem for the Hydro as well as fresh potable water for the city.

  16. Luigi

    March 6, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    #68, Matthew Groom “I will provide a further update on the Energy Supply Plan on Monday.”

    As Monday draws to a close, we still have no plan.

    It’s 2.5 months since Bass Link broke and at least two years since the Hydro embarked on its water draw-down folly – with a growing suspicion that it was the colossal peaks outbound that fried Bass Link. And still no plan on how we are to get through this pickle.

    Please can our pollies grant themselves their pay rise so they can start to focus on the job at hand?

  17. Garry Stannus

    March 6, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Mike S. (#?): you (or someone else) asked about whether the 200 generators were being leased or whether they’d been purchased. Hydro’s Energy Supply Plan [ http://www.hydro.com.au/system/files/www.hydro.com.au/News/Energy_Supply_Plan_Update_-_07_March_2016.pdf ] tells us …

    Financial impact
    There is no question that managing the current challenge comes at a cost. We estimate securing
    and installing 200MW of temporary diesel generation, the site installation costs are approximately
    $20 million, equipment hire cost of approximately $24 million and the operational cost of operating
    the first 100MW will be approximately $11 million per month. It’s estimated approximately one-
    third of that cost will be recouped through energy sales. Actual cost will depend on how much of the
    diesel generation is operated, and for how long. We will run the diesel generation if we receive low
    inflows into our storages or Basslink has not returned to service.

    This suggests that the generators are being hired, and unless I overlook something obvious, it seems as if the hire charge is $24m per … per what? … per month? per till the latest rain target (May-April) is met?

    I’m having a bit of a second read of the (updated as at 22 Feb) Hydro Energy Supply Plan. On my first reading, I got the impression that it was not a plan based on a situation report analysis, with analysis/identification of the issues and with the setting of objectives, as well as a means of assessing progress, and of reporting, evaluating and modifying the plan. It may have included all that in the sub-text, but to me it was basically the most simplistic of plans:

    We’ve been caught short, we won’t mention it continued with the sell-off of the lakes’ waters for the carpet-bagging that came with the Liberals’ accession to power and the repealing of the Carbon Tax. No, no. We don’t remember as far back as ≈20 months. It must have been the failure of the rains last September 2015 (half the expected level) followed by just on a whole metre loss of average October rainfall, continued for November, December, January, February and so far (unpublished) March. Yeah! That was it! The failure of the rain due to climate change [strike that out will you, DPAC – remember we just [Sept 2015] passed a motion saying how there’s no evidence of it, and if there is we’ll ignore it anyway]

    Well Mike, Hydro’s weekly figures are in (c. 4:00 pm today, 7 March 2016); and in the last week our state’s total water energy storage has dropped to 15.5%. (Was 16.1% last Monday)

    The Great Lake has fallen further to 18.03m below full, its energy level now dropped from 11.6 to 11.4 in the last week, while the Gordon-Pedder system has dropped from 9% to a sickening 8.3%. The fish might be easier to catch, in the shrunken Great Lake, but who can get a boat to the water across expanses of boggy silt? And remember that (as I showed in one of the tables in my article) the G. Lake has entered a high-risk threshold (environmental and social) due to the reduced water. Will you want to eat what you might possibly catch?

    What really gives me the pip is how Bryan Green is trying to put all the blame onto our (‘too-little-too-late) Matthew Groom while forgetting how he – Bryan Green – was the Minister for the first 21 months of the cash-in-while-we-can sell-off of our water storages in the rush before the repeal of the Carbon Tax. In my opinion, Matthew Groom and Bryan Green are both responsible for this predicament.

  18. Peter

    March 6, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Colliers are a great suggestion, #84.

    Did Hodgman really say he wants a second Basslink cable? While the Hydro/state government still owes $850 million on Basslink #1 (plus $100 million annual lease costs)?

    And here’s an explanation of TasNetworks recent cock-up with feed-in tariffs:

    ‘The issue last year was most solar users had their solar generation going into their hot water element to heat their water. When that was up to temperature, then it would export. It was supposed to be going to lights and general power then exported. As TasNetworks never said it was the meter supplier that was at fault, you can deduce that the specs supplied by TasNetworks were incorrect. Sigh, they couldn’t get those fundamental things right, after all it was a choice of only 2 tariffs.’


  19. Simon Warriner

    March 6, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Factfinder, the second pdf is missing the Basslink press release referred to in Keppel’s statement. As such it is of no informative value.


  20. Robert LePage

    March 6, 2016 at 10:38 am

    So Wills plan to keep the lights on in Tasmania is a second cable.
    Now I wonder why he is procrastinating and does not go the whole hog.
    If Tasmania built a (small) fleet of coal fired ships and used them to carry coal from Victoria it would only need a new coal fired power station to be built and we would be energy sufficient.
    We could build the ships here and that would bring JOBS.
    Manning the ships especially with the required stokers would bring more JOBS.
    Even more JOBS in the powerhouse.
    That should get him re-elected.
    No really it all makes sense, you know it does.

  21. Factfinder

    March 6, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Australian coal v renewables: how much will it cost to bring electricity to India’s poor?
    March 7, 2016

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    Source: http://theconversation.cmail20.com/t/r-l-eqtdul-dtzihlub-v/

  22. Factfinder

    March 6, 2016 at 1:00 am

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  23. TGC

    March 5, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    Nothing like an energy crisis to bring out conspiracy theorists and rear-view experts.

    As for wind farms – may well be a useful – absolute last resort backup at great expense – but as it happens, we haven’t had all that much wind recently!

  24. William Boeder

    March 5, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    #73. Simon Warriner, the latter part of your comment is certainly worth some intensive consideration.
    Currently there is a thick blanket thrown over the decision to continue the export of Hydro generated electricity, somewhere below that blanket is the decision-maker who gave the go-ahead to continue the export of Hydro generated Energy (at a time of precariously low dam water storage levels.)
    If it was in fact a State treasury grasping exercise for more in the way of State GBE revenues, then a recent announcement (see link below) by this State’s government with its intention to increase its looting of the Hydro GBE places a rather erroneous burden upon this GBE’s operations with a rather severe impost that seems to be an illogical as well as mightily unreasonable demand. http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/200m-hit-for-hydro-tasmania/news-story/5fe1ee8f36e349d429e02da735c7e698?=

    I believe that this huge impost dumped upon Hydro Tasmania as was announced in 2014, will more than likely reveal that the source calling for the continuation of electricity exportation despite the low water levels could be traced to the office of this State’s minister for Energy, Mr Mathew Groom.
    Should I be incorrect, then it may be the slave (Hydro GBE) of the master (Energy minister Mathew Groom) that will be blamed for simply exercising the masters command.

  25. Peter

    March 5, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    And here’s a view from the mainland:

    Adam Morton, Senior Writer, The Age 05 Mar 2016

    What if an entire state in one of the world’s wealthiest countries was to run out of electricity?

    “This is very unusual. I don’t think there has been a crisis like it,” says Hugh Saddler, principal energy consultant with Pitt & Sherry.

    Political critics said the state government’s approach assumed a wet winter and that the cable would be fixed before spring, and that it had ignored opportunities to develop renewable energy projects.

    Melbourne Energy Institute director Professor Mike Sandiford does not criticise the government’s response, but says there is no guarantee winter will provide a fix.

    “The reservoirs will almost certainly get down to 13 per cent, and when the rain comes the land will be very dry, so there will be little run off initially. There will need to be really good rains to recover that storage,” he says.

    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.


  26. Peter Fagan

    March 5, 2016 at 12:50 am

    #72 Got Me a Lake

    “to reduce any hydro dam capacity would be a mug’s game.”

    The “new Lake Pedder is NOT a hydro “dam” or storage. It is a diversion pond. It is NOT a store of water for use when other stores are depleted. It is filled with water only so that it can transfer its current inflow into Lake Gordon. The water in it is “dead” water, that just sits there to raise the level of the diversion pond to a height at which the current inflow can be transferred to Lake Gordon.

    What Lake Pedder Restoration proposes does not substantially reduce the capacity of Hydro to STORE water. You need to watch the 3D to appreciate all this.

    I understand that you cannot watch video over the internet. However you are interested in this issue and I want you to be able to view the 3D.

    If you go to Lake Pedder Restoration’s website at https://lakepedder.wordpress.com/about/ you will find my email address at the bottom of the page, below the data entry field. Alternatively ask the TT editor for my email address.

    Then send me an email containing your postal address and I will send you a USB key with the 3D loaded on it.

    “With weather issues likely to get worse, reducing hydro capacity by even 1% is foolhardy.”

    Is this observation aimed at Lake Pedder Restoration, or at Hydro Tasmania?



  27. Peter Fagan

    March 5, 2016 at 12:29 am

    #37 Clive, I am heartened that you appreciated the 3D visualisation. Lake Pedder Restoration developed it to inform the community, so they can better understand the Lake Pedder issue and make up their own minds about it.

    And I enjoyed your joke about the eels at #70. Jokes help, at times like this. Electric eels indeed. If only we could harness their energy …

  28. Got Me a Lake

    March 4, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    So they built one of the Pedder dam walls smack, bang on an earthquake fault line?

    You have now got my attention.

    I see it is not just any fault line, but one capable of producing earthquakes of 6/7 magnitude.

    That makes the Edgar Dam a Darwin Award’s chart topper, even by Tassie standards!

    Was the management team who approved this dam wall the same management team who approved the wetting down of unsealed Pedder roads with waste transformer oil (PCBs)?

    And was it the same management team who gave the zinc factory the licence to pollute the sediment of the lower Derwent?

    Jeeeezuzzzz …

    Has there been an official assessment of the water levels that would be reached downstream if the dam breeched? If so, anyone got a link?

    Perhaps future building applications in the Huon Valley should only be for houses built like barges, that just sit on a slab, ready to float away like Noah’s Ark.

    I’m off to Franklin Marine to buy some life jackets and a whistle.

  29. Luigi

    March 4, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    OK, I’ve written a first draft of a suitable Crisis Plan.

    Step 1: Pray for rain. A lot of rain. A lot of praying.

    Step 2: Corner the market in diesel generators.

    Step 3: Install a few diesel generators.

    Step 4: Bugger! These things run on diesel. Where are we going to get that?

    Step 5: Ban grey nomads from the state and divert their vans’ diesel to more useful purposes.

    Step 6: Ask Temasek nicely if they’d mind fixing BassLink. But continue paying their monthly fee anyway.

    Step 7: More praying.

    Step 8: Rescind and revise past Media Releases to imply an enduring interest in wind power.

    Step 9: Get around to doing the maths on whether it’s economical to continue selling power to mates at 3c/kwh.

    Step 10: Impose electricity rationing on residential and small commercial users. Starting with Launceston. Bastards up there.

    Step 11: Impose water restrictions throughout the state except for Hobart. God knows it’s bad enough having meters now!

    Step 12: Consider charging commercial rates for electricity to government departments.

    Step 13: Abandon Step 12.

    Step 14: Admit defeat and accept 10% pay rise.

    Step 15: Reduce red tape by calling for unsolicited proposals on what to do next.

  30. Peter Fagan

    March 4, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    #39 Mike Seabrook “the huon does not want the scotts peak water.”

    I would like to hear the opinions of other people in the Huon Valley about that.

    “the stealing of this water has diminished the flooding at the huon river highway at the huonville bridge and also diminished the flooding of the huon river banks downstream of judbury”

    It is widely accepted by Hydro and others that the upper reaches of the Huon River dammed at Scotts Peak are not the source of the vast majority of Huon River flood events.

    Most floods (90%) are caused by rainfall in the catchment below the dam. The Scotts Peak dam has not therefore freed Huonville and Judbury from 90% of the flood risk.

    Our proposal would leave the dam in place, with a greatly reduced volume of water behind it that could be regulated. We believe that this would protect the Huon Valley from almost all of the floods that result from rainfall in the catchment above the dam.

    A risk that the “new” Lake Pedder poses to the Huon Valley stems from the fact the dam to the east of Scotts Peak – the Edgar dam – was built on a fault line. The Professor of Geology at the University of Tasmania, Sam Carey, told Allan Knight, HEC Commissioner, not to build a dam there, but Knight would not listen.

    Should an earthquake along the Edgar fault breach the Edgar dam, the consequences for the Huon Valley would be sudden and serious. The late Michael Hodgman was well aware of this, and this knowledge contributed to his strenuous opposition to the flooding of Lake Pedder.

    One benefit of Lake Pedder restoration would be that the water level of “new” Lake Pedder would drop below the base of the Edgar dam, which would be left stranded, without any water behind it, and would no longer present a potential dam failure risk to the Huon Valley.

    There are winners all round with Lake Pedder restoration Mike.

  31. Simon Warriner

    March 4, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    re 69. So many holes in that comment it is hard to know where to start.

    Pinpointing the exact location is easier when there is a single fault, not so easy when the fault is a general degradation of insulation resistance over a large area. Add in that the cause of the insulation breakdown is not known and may or may not be heat related which could generate a widespread degradation of the insulation system.

    Spiking of the insulation as the result of a transient voltage spike would most probably occur close to the end of the cable nearest the source of the transient, not midway along the cable. It would take the form of a single puncture which would be located using that sophisticated equipment referred to. They would have found the fault and been repairing it now if that were the case. The ease of location is, based on my experience with insulation systems, a function of the resistance at the fault compared with the resistance of the insulation either side of the fault and the resistance of the cable. The greater the difference between those values the more precise the location can be. Conversely, the closer those values the harder it will be to narrow down a location. That difficulty is further amplified by the overall distances involved. I do not envy those charged with finding the fault at all, the call is not one I would want to make.

    The handling of this matter politically is certainly not optimal, but the conclusion reached at 69 cannot be sustained. The govt need to prepare for the possibility of a completely failed cable. Failure to do so now will land them in far greater trouble if it has completely failed. Better they spend the money and not need to run the diesels than not spend it an have to ration power while they get the diesels set up.

    Better yet to have not squandered the water propping up the budget, but that is another discussion.

  32. Got Me a Lake

    March 4, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    I believe the cable failed December 20?

    Melbourne weather on December 19 was almost 42C … http://www.eldersweather.com.au/dailysummary.jsp?lt=site&lc=86338&dt=3

    Launceston was also very warm, with an unusually hot night … http://www.eldersweather.com.au/dailysummary.jsp?lt=site&lc=91237&dt=3

    Could it be that they were pumping a bit too much current to all the air conditioners in Melbourne?

    #33 I didn’t look at the 3D Pedder vid, but I did read about your plan. I am connected to Australia’s woeful satellite broadband, so I rarely watch videos.

    With the climate hints we are getting, both from the climate itself, and science, to reduce any hydro dam capacity would be a mug’s game.

    And I can think of a thousand things the money would be better spent on.

    With weather issues likely to get worse, reducing hydro capacity by even 1% is foolhardy.

    Build a tourist road and learn to love the lake.

    Stock Pedder with some sort of interesting fish,

    Tassie already has all manner of feral fish, and Pedder is full of small trout.

    What’s wrong with one more carefully chosen feral fish species?

    Fill Pedder with Alaskan lake trout or char and make it more exciting for tourists.

    A couple of Tassie’s big lakes are supposedly over-recruited with small trout … perhaps a high-end predator is needed to scoff the little trout that are too abundant?

    USA muskies or European pike perhaps?

    Lastly, I hope the Basslink issue is covered in depth by A Current Affair …

  33. Luigi

    March 4, 2016 at 10:30 am

    #68 Aha! So we get to see The Plan on Monday.

    I anticipate the Ministerial candle being burned at both ends all weekend.

  34. Clive Stott

    March 4, 2016 at 4:58 am

    The EPA’s decision regarding the ‘temporary’ diesel generators can be found here http://epa.tas.gov.au/epa/news?newsstory=3567
    “…but further assessment work will be undertaken over the coming months,”

    I missed it. Are we buying or renting these units?

    We brought in a temporary diesel generator to power the town of Bega once while we did overnight substation maintenance.
    But that was one town for one night. This is Tasmania, one of the Australian states believe it or not.

    No wonder we get left off the map, we don’t deserve to be on there at times like this in my opinion.

    Worked out what the cable layer Ile De Re is up to out there in Bass Strait.
    Electric eels, they are fishing for electric eels!

  35. Richard Kopf

    March 4, 2016 at 1:07 am

    #66 Of course they know the nature of the fault. But bad news is difficult to convey. The Government is unlikely to rush out $44M unless they had an inkling of what the problem is. The sophisticated control equipment at each end should monitor the system so that no overheating of the cable occurs and we are told that there is only one fault. My guess is either a flawed cable or a pulse through either too rapid load switching or a lightning strike on the external DC reticulation.

  36. Matthew Groom, MR posted by Editor

    March 3, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    4 March 2016

    Matthew Groom, Minister for Energy
    Energy update
    I note today’s decision from the EPA regarding the installation of temporary diesel generation. It is important that the Government is able to implement its Energy Supply Plan to ensure certainty for customers and this decision will facilitate that.
    I also note that the first diesel generators have now been installed and I congratulate workers at Hydro and TasNetworks for their work ensuring the smooth roll out of the generators.
    I will provide a further update on the Energy Supply Plan on Monday.

  37. Luigi

    March 3, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Re the dairy farmer whose electricity contract has expired and who must now pay more: is that because he was buying electricity from a cheap mainland supplier?

    I seem to recall that several of our state government departments were also big enough consumers to be able to buy at commercial rates from the mainland. What has happened to them now that Bass Link is down? Are they still paying low prices for Hydro power? Have their contracts expired? Has it occurred to Matthew Groom to ration power to them yet? has he put the price up for them?

    I guess the answers are all in The Plan.

  38. Clive Stott

    March 3, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Pete in #50:
    Our leaders insult our intelligence. They give us no credibility and continue to keep us in the dark as to what is really going on with Basslink.

    No, they just can’t keep saying it is Basslink’s problem therefore they can wash their hands of it.
    Tasmanian’s needs some answers, some truthful answers and we need them fast.

    This is just one almighty mess we have been led into.

    HV cable faults never did pose a problem for us eh sparky?

    Just imagine if we had farted around like this when towns were shut down without power because of a fault, or hospitals were instantly looking for electricity when there were cable faults.

    All those times of ‘some urgency” seem to have been uncalled for when now you can take weeks and months to say “we don’t know where the fault is.”
    “The weather is getting uncomfortable lets go back to port to reprovision.”
    More baitfish and beer?

    Anybody worth their salt would know by now what is up with that cable.

  39. mike seabrook

    March 3, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    politics 101

    the minister shalt hide behind the qangos – hydro directors skirts and say nothing

    here the hydro directors are hiding behind minister groom’s skirts and saying as little as possible

  40. mike seabrook

    March 3, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    #47 clive

    not just the magnificent tassie tuna being caught

    if they were to catch a 200 kg swardfish like the one caught off eaglehawke neck

    the free publicity and advertising around the world would be free and priceless for tassies tourism industry.

  41. mike seabrook

    March 3, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    tasmanian farmer irrigators – second card in the three card trick

    hydro policy – irrigators pay lost generation value of the water for irrigation water from hydro catchments and storages

    is this based on the 3c per kwh which the aluminium smelter is paying.

    the est. 30c per kwh full absorption cost of the diesel generators

    expect that this will be a lawyers picnic – and a grest money spinner for the legal profession for a couple of years.

  42. mike seabrook

    March 3, 2016 at 6:01 pm


    wonder why the tas farmers representative organisation was not discussing with the hydro and advising all their members to get cracking on irrigation power contracts when the bass strait cable first went down – december.

    wonder how many astute and well advised farmers got in before it was too late and signed up to multi-year contracts.

  43. Robert LePage

    March 3, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    This has been sidetracked by the “restore Lake Pedder” gang.
    I wonder if they would be so keen for this if they had to make do with power rationing?
    In these times we are losing sight of the most important issues, mainly we are about to lose the facility of generating power and will have to depend on the outmoded technology of diesel generators.
    We are hoping that it will rain again one day and fill the dams so we will be back with BAU.
    Is it not possible that with AGW this will not happen?
    If rainfall continues dropping at the rate it has for the last twenty years the dams will never be full or even have sufficient water again.
    First of all any government that is running the State should introduce incentives for rooftop solar and that would include large public buildings as well as homes.
    It does not mean that there has to be a large FIT, one that is equal to the buying price would be quite sufficient but it needs to be set in concrete and not be meddled with by the pollies of the day.
    Wind farms are an obvious second line of power production and even local turbines in suitable places such as the hills around Cygnet and Geeveston would be a welcome addition and would not need long power lines but could be connected locally.

  44. Bryan Green MR posted by editor

    March 3, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Bryan Green MP
    Labor Leader 4 March 2016
    Power prices up – Groom caught out again

     Experts say wholesale price up by 500 per cent
     Bumbling Groom’s fingerprints all over power price hikes
     More evidence nothing Groom says can be trusted

    Matthew Groom has again been caught lying and breaking promises, with revelations Tasmanian farmers face massive hikes to their power bills thanks to the Minister’s energy crisis.

    Business owners including small businesses and farmers are seeing price increases in the tens of thousands for their electricity thanks to dwindling lake levels and Liberal Government inaction since the Basslink fault.

    Energy experts have warned farmers and other businesses to lock in power contracts and say wholesale prices have jumped by more than 500 per cent.

    Labor Leader Bryan Green said Tasmanian businesses were now footing the bill for Matthew Groom’s incompetence.

    “Matthew Groom consistently denied power prices would rise as a result of his energy crisis,” Mr Green said.

    “Mr Groom said spiralling prices were a thing of the past and that power prices would be lower under a Liberal Government.

    “Yet again Mr Groom has been caught out, with prices skyrocketing directly because of his mismanagement.

    “The evidence is undeniable – power prices are going up because of Matthew Groom.

    “The costs of Mr Groom’s pigheaded decision to sell the Tamar Valley Power Station are again being laid bare – had lake levels not dropped so rapidly after the Basslink fault, power prices would not be spiking so severely.

    “Matthew Groom has been caught out yet again.

    “He’s not fit to be a minister and should resign.

    “If he’s not a liar, Mr Groom is a fool. Neither are qualities we need in Tasmania’s Energy Minister during an energy crisis.”

  45. Peter

    March 3, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Tasmanian dairy farmer fears power price hikes could put him out of business

    Laura Beavis – ABC Online 04 Mar 2016

    Derwent Valley farmer James Downie’s electricity contracts expired last month and he told the ABC under his new contract his power bill may be $80,000 higher this year, up from $120,000 to $200,000 a year,”
    he said.

    “That’ll be terrible for us. We’re not a big business by any stretch, so I can do a lot with $80,000 or more, and that would be a big impact on my business.”

    He said he would struggle if he had to, on top of running his dairy, run his irrigation system for nine months of the year at the higher prices.


  46. mike seabrook

    March 3, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    see the picture of the high and dry great lake

    wonder if there is gold in them sands and if any one has pegged the property for s prospective gold mine. – don’t see anyone with metal detectors in the picture.

  47. mike seabrook

    March 3, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    # 50 pete

    gone fishin off the Il de Rey

    wonder if the ab diver is registered and the cray pots are licenced.

    expect the next event will be that the bass strait cable operator has called in an official administrator or gone straight into receivership

    and also

    if the insurance contracts are kosher – when will an or several insurance companies listed on the asx be making an announcement to the asx.

  48. mike seabrook

    March 3, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    #51 gary

    the fishin should be great in great lake – less water for the fish to hide in.

  49. mike seabrook

    March 3, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    # those greenhouse gas generating diesel emissions,( full absorption costing of electricity at est. 30c per kwh) should be good for tassie as could be the catalyst for and cause more rain to fall in the hydros dams and hence more clean green renewable hydro electricity to be onsold at est. 3c per kwh to the aluminium smelter.

    and the plants and worthless trees should grow better for all that additional co2 to be photosynthesised into oxygen and water.

  50. Peter Fagan

    March 3, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    #46 Robin does pumping infrastructure exist at Lake St Clair? I know the old pumphouse at the end of a jetty was rarely used and has been converted into tourist accomodation.

  51. William Boeder

    March 3, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    At some time soon a public service insider of the Liberals or within the Hydro GBE itself will advise from where the instruction originated from to continue selling or had consented to the ongoing sale of the ‘water converted to electricity’ at a time of critically low water storage levels.

    Either someone at the top of the GBE of Hydro had issued the instruction, or the applicable port folio of DPIPWE minister had given the grossly irregular instruction to keep the electricity sales continuing.

    The information already in the public domain tells us that the critical water storage levels were already known by both of the referred to suspects mentioned in the above.

    Yet to be disclosed is the ‘rate of electricity flow’ that was at that time dispatched across Bass Strait.

    Heads should roll as a result of this created dilemma but then again there is no ultimate authority or person that is charged with the authority of calling people to account.

    (Any wonder that the Federal Court had to become involved in order to over rule the State government responsible minister, Mathew Groom in to close the 4WD tracks.)

    Another Liberal party contribution to this State that was devoid of any merit.

  52. Peter Fagan

    March 3, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    #42 Robin thanks for drawing readers attention to Kevin’s excellent article. The URL is:


    Amongst other matters, Kevin explains the damage that could be done if Hydro Tasmania were given permission to drain the “new” Lake Pedder to a substantial depth. Any draining would require a carefully thought out plan of environmental management.

    A narrow band of permitted water levels for the “new” Lake Pedder are set in legislation that was written at the behest of Hydro to suit Hydro in the early 1970s.

    Yes, this is a genuine energy crisis, but no, Hydro Tasmania must not be given unfettered permission to abrogate that legislation.

  53. Garry Stannus

    March 3, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Ben (#40): your point about pre-arranged load-shedding prior to Matt Groom’s claiming it, is interesting: so too the “times of extremely low inflows into Hydro Tasmania’s storages” I’d come across a discussion in TasNetworks Annual Planning Report 2015 which had modelled three outage scenarios – and concluded we’d be able to get through. Extended failure of generation source
    This scenario is comprised of three independent sub-
    scenarios. Each is a hypothetical six-month energy supply
    outage and its impact on the hydro system in Tasmania.
    The outages modelled include a major outage of:
    • a large hydro generator (ie Gordon Power Station);
    • the gas supply network (ie Tamar Valley Power
    Station); and
    • Basslink.

    [ https://www.tasnetworks.com.au/TasNetworks/media/pdf/our-network/2015-Annual-Planning-Report.pdf ]

    However, it seemed to me that the modelled scenarios did not include a combination of outages, which is what we are faced with now. That is, we are faced with a continued Basslink outage and a failure of water energy (not to mention that closing down and only recently planned sell-off of the Tamar Valley power station!).

    In this last month, our total hydro-energy resources dropped from 18.26% to 16.1%.
    Since my article was published … what was it … one week ago? … the Great Lake has slipped further from 12.3% of its energy capacity, to 11.6% and the Gordon-Pedder in the week has fallen from 9.6% to 9%.

    Great Lake level below full … now 18.02 metres below. When I took my photos (Feb 14) the Lake was 17.65 metres below. In other words, it’s dropped by more than the length of a wooden ruler. I thank Steve* (#20) for his term ‘the wok effect’ and remind readers that the Great Lake is according to Hydro’s standards ‘at high risk’ of environmental/social harm and according to their figures, now 1.35 metres above the extreme risk threshold. If there is currency in ‘the wok effect’ (see my #19 for an explanation) then without rain in March we should expect to see an acceleration in the dropping of the Lake’s level. Shaun (#23) told us that “The minimum useful level for Great Lake is 21.34 metres below full.” That calculates out as 3.32 metres of useable water left in the Wok … [oops] … left in the Lake. (Grin!**)

    * Steve: your comments are always reasoned, thoughtful etc and highly welcome.
    ** Grin = laconic Aussie humour, à la ‘stop laughing, this is serious’…

  54. Pete Godfrey

    March 3, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    My money is still on the cable being fried.

    In 2012 Hydro took Basslink Pty Ltd to court. They wanted to get a ruling that they could load the cable more than the original agreement stated.

    Hydro lost and the judge said that BPL were right and that Hydro couldn’t overload the cable as they wanted.

    Being buried in mud a metre deep would have drastic implications for the cooling of the cable.

    This morning I looked at the position of the Ile De Rey and it is still sitting out there in Bass Strait looking maybe they are fishing.

    Guess a lot of head scratching is going on and also some heavy work for the spin doctors or lawyers depending on who can be blamed for the fault.

    If it is Hydro Tasmania’s fault the budget is going to look rather unwell.

  55. Richard Kopf

    March 3, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Who knows what the future energy needs will be in 50, 100, whatever, years from now. Certainly Hydro Electricity cannot meet the demand in the future, whether we drain Lake Pedder of not or dam the Gordon below Franklin.

    Some suggest Tasmania goes nuclear! We can’t even manage a waterwheel! I will leave before the bang.

    But in the last few years a great opportunity was lost. We are now burning gas to make electricity which heats our water, our homes and cooks our food. Probably for the foreseeable future.

    Some 50% of domestic electricity is provided to do tasks that gas can do directly without the losses involved in generating electricity for basic heating tasks.

    When Labor was looking to spend $M’s during the GFC, we opted for school halls which we didn’t really need, and lost an opportunity to install gas infrastructure in new subdivisions and where wood fired heaters are causing health problems in winter, like Launceston.

    The $44M used to buy diesel generators would then have provided a better investment as gas reticulation. It is too late for the current crisis, but there will be another.

  56. Luigi

    March 3, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    As the crisis drags on, the public demands for an energy crisis management plan are gathering steam, it seems.

    I agree that Bryan Green’s plan is more attuned to a future energy security strategy, but at least it’s something. But Matthew Groom’s criticism of it is a cheap shot from someone who should have a plan but doesn’t.

    Come on, Matthew, show us your plan. If you have one.

  57. Clive Stott

    March 3, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I am sooo happy everything in Tasmania is going along fine.

    Jobs are being shed, industry is being wound back, water levels are receding, generators are being connected at a fast pace to burn heaps of diesel when diesel fumes are more toxic than petrol fumes. How is that for clean green Tasmania? Not to mention the extra toxins and cost for an extended cloud seeding program.

    All this cost and we are not going to have to pay extra for it?

    Rubbish, Let me put something out there.

    This Basslink cable fault seems like a furphy to me.

    We can’t get any details on what type of fault it is and Basslink haven’t been able to find a fault that I am aware of despite the Ile De Re spending vacation sailing around on the southern seas. (the tuna must be running).

    Maybe it is a land-based ‘fault’ or maybe someone just turned the switch off.

    Perhaps there is no hurry to find said fault if those in the know can build a case to get a second cable laid.

  58. Robin Charles Halton

    March 3, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    I remember regular fishing trips to Lake st Clair from 1955 till about the early 1960’s camping in summer behind the sand dunes at Frankland Beaches. One year the lake’s level was pumped so well down when a mate and I decided to take a closer look by paddling out on Li Lo inflatable mattresses to observe where the end of the shallows the meet the sudden change to the depths of the lake.

    If things go from bad to worse with little to no rainfall and falling lake levels Lake St Clair may have to at least to be pumped out to the bottom level of Derwent Basin, the lagoon behind the Pumphouse Point site so as to provide the dual purpose of providing clean fresh water flow on the Derwent River for Hobart’s drinking water and to produce Hydro power as it passes through the various power stations on route from its source the headwaters south of Du Cane Range north of Lake St Clair.

  59. mike seabrook

    March 3, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    #43 the evidence detail and facts

    According to a report in the Australian Financial Review in December, South Australian Treasurer and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis called a meeting of energy users and suppliers to deal with the sharp rises and falls in wholesale electricity prices that, in particular, threaten the economics of the lead and zinc smelter at Port Pirie operated by Dutch company, Nyrstar.

    South Australian businesses face electricity prices in 2016-18 of between $87 and $90 per megawatt hour, compared with $37-$41 in Victoria and $43-$48 in New South Wales.

    South Australian irrigators are said to be facing electricity price increases of more than 100 per cent next year.

    According to the AFR, forward electricity prices in South Australia are far higher than when Nyrstar signed up in May.

    Further, the threat of disruption of supplies if the inter-connectors to Victoria fail, or become inadequate to meet the demand for electricity in South Australia on peak days, are of understandable concern to the company. Nyrstar is scheduled to start operations in mid-2016.

    Options for the Government to stop Nyrstar quitting all look expensive.

    In the short run, the Government’s main option could be to cover the extra anticipated cost of electricity and the cost of any supply disruptions with a further subsidy to Nyrstar over and above the $291 million it has already promised. This subsidy could be substantial.

    In the long run, the Government’s main option could be to pay for even more interconnection to Victorian, New South Wales or Queensland coal or gas-powered electricity generators.

  60. Peter Bright

    March 3, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Garry’s link at the foot of his post #30 fails to open. This sometimes happens with URLs ending in pdf or which may be too long.

    Never mind. This one will get you there ..


  61. mike seabrook

    March 3, 2016 at 11:24 am

    in the news

    the large electricity consumers in south australia are now squealing like stuck pigs as the electricity prices have massively increased – largely due to wind power associated costs – particularly with the low reliability of the wind power which has imperilled the economic profitable survival in sa of cheap base load electricity producers.

    when are the aluminium smelter and the zinc works gunna face reality that electricity prices of est. 3c per kwh belong to the age of the dinosours and shut down and piss off.

    any one wanna pay the est. 30c per kwh full absorption cost of the diesel generated electricity ( filthy , highly polluting, greenhouse gas generating ) in tassie.

    all tassie should be on a high alert for the consequences of the bass strait cable ( very unreliable if it ever works again) failing – a 5 year legal bunfight with my guess the tassie hydro/tassie treasury/students/sick people etc. carrying the can and someone has to cop the est. $1,000,000,000.00 writeoff ( of which est. $200,000,000.00 is due to interest rate dealings with the magnificently connected macquarie bank).

  62. Robin Charles Halton

    March 3, 2016 at 8:49 am

    #33 Peter Fagan, there is an excellent article in the Mercury newspaper Thursday march 3rd by Kevin Kiernan “Return of the Jewel”. Tasmania’s emerging energy crisis could help facilitate the restoration of the original Lake Pedder.

    Pity it was not shown up on this site so far!

  63. William Boeder

    March 3, 2016 at 2:50 am

    Mr Mathew Groom, Minister for Energy, a few comments if I may, (first of all ignore the babble from Bryan ‘the giggler’ Green, he has yet to make a contribution of merit to the State of Tasmania, Weasels and Stoats come to mind when this excuse for a government minister sends out his oily critical media releases.)
    When it comes down to contributions to the betterment of the State of Tasmania, then toward the half million people residing here, can you offer that you yourself and your Liberal party (as our present government tasked with this State’s leadership) can advise the people via a media release describing just what it is that you and your Liberal party have in all honesty contributed to both this State and its population?

    The people of Tasmania were expecting a fair and reasonable change to the ways of Lennon and his successors, I personally am yet to discern whatever it can possibly be.
    To listen to Peter Gutwein one would think him a people’s champion, but no, he is just as gormless as those ministers now in opposition.

    Admittedly the Hydro incumbent directors are under extra pressure to contribute additional dividends over and above their usual State revenue provisioning expectation, particularly if one seeks to understand that there just is no more money in the Hydro cash register.

    The problems with our State’s Energy system is that it suffers from the grasping of short term political gain and the clamour of your Liberals demanding extra dividends, irrespective that these additional sought revenues are only going to be available subject to the lines of credit that these GBE’s may have access to.

    The short term search for extra booty to splash about to succour favour come the next election, this in itself is a senseless undertaking as well as a greed-like debilitating drain upon the already scant State’s revenues, when at the end of the day this demanded extra money is covertly being channelled to Forestry Tasmania to subsidize the profits en-masse as are expected by the Ta Ann fleecing predator owners.

    One would expect this Liberal government to haul the management of Ta Ann into line, or better still expel them from this State instead of pretending all is fine.
    (They that are given their electricity for free) while at the same time their influential management individuals are demanding more high grade Native Forest logs for their ‘bullshit excuse for plywood’ irrespective that this State in proper and valid circumstances, is unable to be sensibly and ‘profitably’ delivered.

    Look to your own Liberal party government failings if you would instead of smiling and pretending that all is fine.

  64. Ben Lohberger

    March 3, 2016 at 2:11 am

    Matt Groom’s media release at #24 incorrectly claims that the Liberal government’s ‘Energy Supply Plan’ is somehow responsible for electricity load shedding by Norske Skog:

    “The Government notes the announcement that Norske Skog has reached an agreement with Hydro to temporarily reduce its power consumption.
    Importantly, this will not have any impact on jobs at Norske Skog.
    As we have said, under the Energy Supply Plan that we have implemented, Hydro has been discussing a range of matters with Tasmania’s major energy consumers and will continue to stay in close contact.”

    But the 2012 final report from the Electricity Supply Industry Expert Panel reveals that Hydro Tasmania has always planned for load shedding in the event of a Basslink failure coupled with ‘extremely low inflows’ (drought):

    “In the absence of Basslink, Hydro Tasmania assumes that the shortfall in the capacity of its hydro generation schemes to meet Tasmania’s demand for electricity would have been met using a combination of natural gas fired generation – owned and operated by Hydro Tasmania – and, in times of extremely low inflows into Hydro Tasmania’s storages, negotiated load shedding by major industrial customers.”

    [Electricity Supply Industry Expert Panel, Final Report: Volume II, page 7, March 2012, http://www.electricity.dpac.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/160585/Final_Report_Volume_II.pdf ]

  65. mike seabrook

    March 3, 2016 at 1:49 am


    the huon does not want the scotts peak water.
    all agric potential and huon villages can get water required from huon river tributaries, the mountain river and from normal stream flow of the huon above salt water

    in fact the stealing of this water has diminished the flooding at the huon river highway at the huonville bridge and also diminished the flooding of the huon river banks downstream of judbury

    to get the huon economy moving – build a lower huon river dam
    i believe that it was near blackfish creek on the huon river where a dam was proposed- hydro/fishing/recreational/further downstream flood minimising.

  66. Clive Stott

    March 2, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    If you have got one of those dynamos that you release onto the front tyre of your Southern Star Garry at least you will have lights when all else fails.

  67. Clive Stott

    March 2, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Well Peter Fagan in #33 I was totally captivated watching your 3D visualisation for a full 14 minutes. I watched it twice!

    Excellent. Thank you very much.

  68. Steve

    March 2, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    #34; Garry, I seem to be responding to a lot of your posts recently. It’s honestly not stalking! I only log on to TT occasionally as I’m quite busy elsewhere. The rest of the time I get anonymous e.mail comments that occasionally inspire me to respond. Your comment has thus inspired me to support your position re the “pantheon of human achievement”. Very well put. Lake Pedder drowned and restored would be a major feather in the Tasmanian beanie.

  69. Matthew Groom, MR posted by Editor

    March 2, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Matthew Groom, Minister for Energy
    Response to Bryan Green
    It’s a hastily cobbled together shopping list that is uncosted. It doesn’t deal with the immediate issues at hand and it wouldn’t provide energy security for Tasmania.
    Labor had 16 years to reform the energy sector in Tasmania, but failed.
    The Hodgman Liberal Government is determined to ensure energy security for Tasmania and we will continue to provide regular updates to the community on the implementation of the Energy Supply Plan.

  70. Garry Stannus

    March 2, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Thank you, Lindsay (Ed.) for including Peter Fagan’s ‘Pedder Restored’ image. I’ve watched the video from which it derives [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9wiGkaTOtQ&feature=youtu.be#sthash.Zn0rJ3ln.dpuf ] and I accept that the restoration of Pedder will be at quite some financial cost (estimated c. $100m). Yet let it be said that there would be a reciprocal employment gain under that proposal (construction and ongoing tourism) and further, that our Pedder restored will take its rightful place in our pantheon of human achievement, as well as taking a restoration throne amongst the heritage kingdoms of our world.

  71. Peter Fagan

    March 2, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    #28 Got Me a Lake

    If you had taken the time to view the 3D, you would have seen that the final configuration Lake Pedder Restoration proposes leaves a large lake behind the Scotts Peak dam – the dam that closes the upper reaches of the Huon River.

    I am sending to the editor a still from the 3D that shows the final configuration. I hope he will post it somewhere on Garry’s article.

    In the image, the big remnant storage behind Scotts Peak dam is in the right foreground. To its left and at center is the restored Lake Pedder; above and behind Lake Pedder is the diversion pond retained behind the Serpentine dam, from which water would be transferred via a short tunnel into Lake Gordon (at top of image).

    The current transfer mechanism – the McPartlan Pass canal – would be redundant. The ochre coloured land is the area that is no longer under water and would require remediation.

    With our proposal, the water behind the Scotts Peak dam is “stranded” and would no longer be available to the Middle Gordon power scheme – that’s the source of the 12%-15% decrease in potential output from the power scheme that we acknowledge as a cost of our proposal.

    However once an outlet is installed in the Scotts Peak dam, that water is available for downstream use in the Huon valley – where it belongs and where it went before Hydro “stole” it and sent it through its turbines at the Gordon dam and out to sea via the Gordon River and Macquarie Harbour.

    I gotta say Got Me a Lake, it is frustrating when we have been to the trouble and expense of demonstrating all the above with a 3D visualisation, to have people offer criticisms that aren’t even valid – presumably because they haven’t been willing to spend a mere seven minutes to watch the 3D and learn about what we are proposing.

  72. Clive Stott

    March 2, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Garry #18: we are living those power crisis days again how could one forget.
    We even had Premier ‘Electric Eric’ Reece back then! http://www.oldtt.pixelkey.biz.au/index.php/article/tim1

    From what I can gather this steam turbine vessel the George H. Evans was purchased by the HEC for $438,000. Four dates are mentioned one being the 23/8/1967, the other the 19/10/1967. 25/10/1967 was when she set sail from Wellington for Tas and 30/10/1967 was when she was permanently moored at Bell Bay as a floating power station.

    There seems confusion as to when she was renamed the George H Evans; before she left N.Z. or when she arrived at Bell Bay. Previously she was called the tev Hinemoa 1946-1971.

    At full speed (300 RPM) her turbines could generate up to 5 megawatts at 3.3kV, 50 Hz. and this was connected to the HEC grid.

    7/4/1969 she departed Bell Bay under tow of a tug for Dampier WA and arrived on 8/5/1969 to be used for the same purpose.

  73. Bryan Green MR posted by editor

    March 2, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Bryan Green MP
    Labor Leader 3 March 2016
    Hodgman Government put greed before energy need
     Hydro exported power to mainland as energy crisis intensified
     Tasmania’s energy needs ignored in bid for quick returns

    The extraordinary admission from Hydro Tasmania that it exported power to the mainland in the midst of a major energy crisis reflects the greed and inexperience of the Liberal government.
    Labor Leader Bryan Green said data released by the Tasmanian Energy Regulator under Right To Information shows Hydro sold electricity via Basslink at the same time dam levels were plummeting.
    “How on earth did this happen and – more importantly – how did the Energy Minister Matthew Groom allow it to happen,” Mr Green said.
    “By prioritising short-term dividends over the long-term interests of Tasmania, the Liberal Government has placed Hydro Tasmania and our energy resources in a desperate position.
    “Jacking up Hydro dividends to an unprecedented 90 per cent of profits was one of the first actions of the Hodgman Government and it has had dire consequences for Tasmania.
    “The Liberal Government has placed its greed ahead of the needs of all Tasmanians and now we are in an unprecedented energy crisis that Matthew Groom must accept the lion’s share of responsibility for.
    “It was that same greed and the Hodgman Government’s unreasonable demand for massive returns that triggered last year’s irresponsible and short-sighted decision to dismantle the Tamar Valley Power Station and now we learn Hydro has been exporting dwindling energy reserves in a desperate attempt to make a quick buck.
    “Remember it was only a few months ago that Hydro borrowed money to meet this government’s dividend policy and now it is blowing tens of millions of dollars a month on diesel just to keep the lights on.”

  74. Garry Stannus

    March 2, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Hi Steve (#20): I found the following useful, but didn’t include it in my article due to space considerations…
    Measuring water storage levels (page 146, Hydro Tasmania Annual Report 2009)
    Hydro Tasmania’s hydropower system is fully integrated and
    flexible in terms of producing energy. We measure the water
    storage system in terms of the amount of electricity we could
    generate from the water stored, or put another way, the amount
    of energy in storage. We narrate the storage level as ‘x% full
    in energy terms’ or ‘% full of energy’. Usually this applies to
    the system as a whole, but sometimes we refer to the level of
    particular lakes.
    The figure is relative to, but is not the same as, the actual level
    of water in the storage. Our preferred operating zone is a storage
    system level between 30 and 50 per cent full in energy. The lower
    amount, 30 per cent, represents an insurance amount that can
    be used to generate electricity during some years of drought.
    The higher level, 50 per cent, represents a reasonable buffer that
    can be used to give us flexibility in our trading operations.
    Generally, when identifying the level of individual lakes, these
    figures mean that significantly less than 30 per cent full of
    energy means the lake will look low, and at 50 per cent full of
    energy, the lake is likely to be nearer full.
    We publish water storage data on our web site under ‘energy in
    storage’, and ‘lake levels’ which are reported as metres from full.

    [ http://www.hydro.com.au/annual-reports/2009/contents/pdfs/Hydro Annual Report 2009.pdf ]

  75. Garry Stannus

    March 2, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Scott C (#13): I did come across a discussion of how the cable’s capacity is limited by the heating that occurs as the current passes through, but unfortunately I cannot refind it now. I think it was to do with an explanation of the cause of blackouts, something along the lines of a blackout being not a loss of current, but rather the operator’s need to turn off the supply because of hazardous overheating of the cable.

    I did find the following, though it’s not the exact text that I was looking for:

    Basslink has a continuous sending end capacity of
    500 MW and a short term sending end capacity of
    630 MW when exporting electricity from Tasmania to
    Victoria. Power flow into Tasmania is limited to 478 MW.
    These figures are maximum limits. Basslink has a non-
    operational zone between 50 MW export and 50 MW
    import at all times.

    Pg 25 2015 Annual Planning Report – TasNetworks [ Annual Planning Report 2015 https://www.tasnetworks.com.au/TasNetworks/media/pdf/our-network/2015-Annual-Planning-Report.pdf ]

  76. Got Me a Lake

    March 2, 2016 at 2:12 am

    The farmers of the Huon will likely be screaming for water in 20 years, and this water can be delivered cheaply via the Huon River from Lake Pedder.

    A dam is not something we can afford to lose in this age of drought, sadly.

    Money would be better spent building a Pedder tourist road through from Southwood on one of the forestry roads.

  77. Peter Fagan

    March 1, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    #26 thanks Garry.

    The YouTube link to the 3D visualisation is working, as is the link to the 3D on the Vimeo website:


    Make sure your sound is on as the 3D has a voice over.

    I agree with you – at a time when the community is struggling to understand why the “new” Lake Pedder is full of water yet can’t replenish an almost empty Lake Gordon, the 3D explains a lot.

  78. Garry Stannus

    March 1, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Peter (#9): I think readers would like to view the YouTube video that I think you played a major part in producing. Can I say to fellow readers, that…

    …yes, the plan to restore Lake Pedder to what it was, is in my opinion, practicable from an engineering point of view. Moreover, Tassie is now seen as a serious tourist destination. Witness the Chinese tourists who can be seen everywhere here, ‘giving their lungs a holiday’. To have the centrepiece of our wilderness identity restored, will be an irresistible magnet for tourists from here, from the mainland and from all over the world. How we will manage the pressures that such increased tourism will bring remains to be seen. Pedder can be drained, and restored to its original beach. And under the plan from the Lake Pedder Restoration Committee, it can be achieved while still supplying water to the Hydro Electric scheme.

    “The Middle Gordon Power Scheme can be reconfigured to allow Lake Pedder to be restored. It would still generate 80 % of its current electrical output. The cost of the engineering works would be in the order of $100m.”

    I’ve just seen the You Tube video for the first time, though I was there at the MONA presentation a few years ago. It is well worth a watch … I found it a real asset for my understanding. It takes a few seconds over 7 minutes. I hope this link works … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9wiGkaTOtQ&feature=youtu.be

    If not, the lakepedder.org resources tab should get readers there.

  79. mike seabrook

    March 1, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    lake echo – my guess is that this reserve is locked up for time of day flexibility

  80. Matthew Groom, MR posted by Editor

    March 1, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Matthew Groom, Minister for Energy
    Norske Skog
    The Government notes the announcement that Norske Skog has reached an agreement with Hydro to temporarily reduce its power consumption.
    Importantly, this will not have any impact on jobs at Norske Skog.
    As we have said, under the Energy Supply Plan that we have implemented, Hydro has been discussing a range of matters with Tasmania’s major energy consumers and will continue to stay in close contact.

  81. Shaun

    March 1, 2016 at 1:33 am

    #19 The minimum useful level for Great Lake is 21.34 metres below full.

    For Lake Gordon it is 51.82 metres below full.

    For Lake Echo (3rd largest storage and the often “forgotten” long term one – it’s not huge but it is a long term storage as such) the minimum is 13.56m below full.

    Lake King William is the 4th largest although not a long term storage as such. Minimum is 29.42m below full.

    You are right in your assumption that there’s more water in the top part of a storage than at the bottom due to the lake’s surface area reducing as the level drops. How significant it is varies from lake to lake but they all have that basic characteristic to some extent.

  82. Peter Fagan

    March 1, 2016 at 12:23 am

    #15 Robin, I am pleased that you found my conversation with Brian Carlton interesting.

    I urge you to have a look at Lake Pedder Restoration’s 3D visualisation, which shows how the Middle Gordon power scheme works, why Lake Pedder was sacrificed to make it work, and how we propose the power scheme be reconfigured to enable Lake Pedder to be restored while allowing the power scheme to continue to operate.

    To see the 3D visualisation, got to:


    Make sure your sound is on as the 3D has a voice over.

    Bob Brown and others would prefer full restoration of the Serpentine and upper Huon Valleys rather than the power scheme reconfiguration Lake Pedder Restoration proposes.

    However Bob understands our position that partial restoration and realisation of the two asset strategy is the most we can hope to achieve in our lifetime.

    Lake Pedder restoration is a cause Tasmanians and indeed Australians of all political persuasions embrace. Our most dedicated supporters include Greens, Laborites and “died in the wool” Liberals; tourism entrepreneurs, financiers, engineers, scientists and many young Australians who want this part of their natural heritage returned to them. Please don’t ask us to exclude anyone from this committed community. Instead, learn more about what we are doing and consider joining us on the journey to restore one of the natural wonders of the world.

  83. Claire Gilmour

    February 29, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Just imagine if there had been Gunns pulp mill water also sucked out of it.

    What can I say … except … even without the pulp mill …

    Destiny was always going to be …


  84. Steve

    February 29, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    #19; I think you can relax Garry. I’m fairly sure the % figures we are presented with are based on actual production levels and the “wok effect” is factored in. Mind you, in Tasmania it never pays to take anything for granted, so perhaps not!
    What I find interesting, is as the lakes go down, there must be stuff emerging that’s been submerged for years. A survey of this would be useful, especially in the areas where the timber wasn’t removed prior to flooding, but also useful from a tourism point of view.
    I recall talking to an elderly lady who recalled much of the Great Lake area, prior to inundation. Most interesting.

  85. Garry Stannus

    February 29, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Pete (#6): re your “Not sure how far they can drop after that before the head is so low the generators become useless.”: Look, just off the top of my head, for the Great Lake, I think the ‘unusable’ level is 25 metres below full. My photos are from the northern (higher) end. Just this morning, having checked the lake levels again, I noticed that the Great Lake had (seemingly in spite of the rain over the last few days) finally dropped to 18 metres below ‘full’.

    So some might think that – hey, what’s the problem? – 18 metres below full, leaves 7 metres above useless (when we get to 25 metres below). But could I ask you – and anyone else who happens to read this comment – could I ask you to picture a wok … a real big wok, about the size of the great lake. It’s sharply angled as woks usually are, though not as symmetrical as the one in our kitchen. If I filled my kitchen wok with water, and then took an inch (coupla centimetres) off the top, I’d have a certain amount of water. Maybe a pint, possibly a litre, if you can picture the larger Tassie beer glass or milk carton. But imagine if the wok only had an inch of water in the bottom and I took that. What’s that going to fill? A coffee mug? Maybe, if you’re lucky. In my opinion it’d be closer to a tea-cup.

    I’m suggesting that the walls of the Great Lake must be narrower, the deeper they go, and that the rate of dropping below the ‘level when full’ will accelerate from here on in. I’m suggesting that we might be very close to ‘drop-out’. My ‘wok examples’, kitch or hammy they might be, but the sides of the tank narrow and narrow. Just look at any gully/mountain valley.

  86. Garry Stannus

    February 29, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Thanks Clive (#4 and #5): I wasn’t here in ’67 for daylight savings. I was doing my ‘Leaving’ year (=Grade 11) with the Christian Brothers in Melbourne. I remember the heat of that year. Looking out from the back landing of our Housing Commission home in Thornbury, prefab concrete walls, and looking at the Dandenong Ranges, to the east, and I remember the smoke and the lack of water … we had water restrictions! Something that post war Melbourne wasn’t used to.

    Gees, Clive, those concrete walls used to sizzle at night. I would lie there in the dark and sweat as I felt the heat radiate from the wall against which my bed was placed. While preparing this article, a friend at work Facebooked me a few days before I posted my article: she had seen someone’s post with a colour pic of a ship tethered to a wharf, pumping out electricity, up there in Bell Bay. When I referred to it ( http://tinyurl.com/je2jjem from Wiki because I couldn’t retrieve her link to the ‘George H Evans’) I hadn’t then seen your #5’s ”And I seem to remember a ship was brought into the Tamar and connected to the grid?”

    Your ‘local knowledge’, Clive, is ‘top shelf’! I’m thinking of asking you for next week’s Tattslotto numbers … grin!

  87. Clive Stott

    February 29, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Minister Groom are you asking the right questions?

    What kind of fault is it?
    Broken conductor, or earth fault?
    What relays/circuit breakers tripped when the fault occurred?
    What protection report was spat out?

    Have you asked what methods have been used to locate the fault (other than sailing up and down looking for a hole. FLOS etc.

    Time for a detailed update please I think Tasmanian need to know a bit more about this ongoing saga. It is getting beyond a joke now.

  88. Got Me a Lake

    February 29, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Why drain Lake Pedder when these droughts will get worse?

    Not to mention the pink beach is likely a mud bog now. Pink, white and brown … come see Metropolitan Ice-Cream Beach.

    Lake Pedder as it stands is a spectacle. I don’t see the pink beach being a bigger attraction.

    They could add value to Pedder now by stocking it with Alaskan lake trout, but I guess the Greens would scream about that too.

  89. Robin Charles Halton

    February 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    #9 Peter Fagan, very interesting concept and not coming directly from the screaming Greens.

    I listened to your interview with Brian Carlton using an underground tunnel to channel water to Lake Gordon and maintaining a reasonable level of the original lake as is possible, I never knew that, Bob Brown and Christine Milne never mentioned that during their rants from time to time.

    I have no problem with a proper survey as I reckon the lake will have to drained to a certain extent while the Power crisis remains but please keep the Greens out of the proposal otherwise politics will destroy and efforts to consider a realistic view of the posibilities.

    Funny that Hydro Minister Matthew Groom did not mention water reserves in Lake Pedder earlier, what was he afraid of, politics!

  90. Chris

    February 29, 2016 at 11:59 am

    WEE WILLY Think outside the square, take the bit between your teeth, look to the future and consider your options.

    There is at present a TV AD running offering panels of solar for $4,000 and if the Government here subsidized each installation the resultant water saving could go some of the way to increasing the HEC storage capacity of water.

    A two man team can install two or more units per day and simple maths will tell you that is 10 units per week, restore all the tradesmen made redundant when the feed in tariff was reduced then about 50 workers could install 500 units per week and assuming a 15kw unit can produce 4.3kwhs per day then a $4,000 unit would double that output and GIVE the HEC 8.5 kw approx to increase their storage capacity and generate revenue x 3 for their sales.

    A sum of $3,500 per installation would allow 12,857 units to be installed in about half a year and increase at the same time many megawatts of power to be utilized by the HEC.

    That sum would be equal to the diesel generators installed to bridge a gap

    So will Will grasp the nettle and increase again the solar installers by subsidizing the installation of panels and thus give people the incentive to help climate change to some extent and not have to look forward a long repayment period due to feed in tariff reductions.

    Earn ya new salary.


    See the honourable president of the Legislative Council pleading with voters to spend a day with a politician!

    How many legal cases did he conduct for fees while a legislative councillor, was his salary for that position of councillor reduced to take into account that income from private sources, or did he pocket both?

    Is the position of Councillor regarded as a full time position/

  91. Scott C

    February 29, 2016 at 4:10 am

    There has been a very interesting discussion on the subject of the Basslink problems on the Whirlpool forum site.

    Apparently the upper limit on the amount of power that the Basslink cable can carry is governed by the heating of the cable. During the carbon tax period, the Hydro had a dispute with the Basslink operators, because the Hydro wanted to push more power through the cable than the Basslink operators thought was wise.

    Read more here: http://whrl.pl/ReyrmO

    Things could get interesting if the cable’s insulation has been degraded by sustained use at high output.

  92. Second Opinion

    February 29, 2016 at 2:01 am

    There might be some skeletons beneath those waters. The goss around Maydena in the early 80’s was of massive amounts of concrete and machinery sacrificed in large holes encountered along Scott’s Peak Road.
    And of course there was the $1.25M removal of drowned stags around the shoreline in order to create the artifice that Lake Pedder is a lake.

  93. mike seabrook

    February 29, 2016 at 1:38 am

    #4 clive

    and the bass strait telegraph cable which failed in the 1860s

  94. mike seabrook

    February 29, 2016 at 1:35 am

    if they wanna keep peddar – they can recommence construction of the gordon-below-franklin- cheap, green, clean electricity forever and lots of jobs for tasmanians

  95. Peter Fagan

    February 29, 2016 at 12:16 am

    Hi Garry and thanks for the article and photographs.

    On behalf of Lake Pedder Restoration Incorporated, I discussed some of the issues with Brian Carlton on Radio 7AD this morning see:


    Robert Le Page #3, please LISTEN to what we have to say.

  96. Steve

    February 28, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    #3; What are you on about? Fresh water is not in shortage. Fresh water at altitude is getting low, but only because of mismanagement. Too much drawn off for short term profit.

    With regard to Lake Pedder; those of a Green persuasion will be all in favour of using the water. The Government won’t be so keen because once Pedder is drawn down, there’ll be a strong push to keep it that way and that really wouldn’t suit some egos.

    “They stopped the Franklin Dam, stopped two pulp mills and now they want Pedder back…?!” Common sense doesn’t come into it.

  97. Garry Stannus

    February 28, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks, Pete. It’s a ‘dry old topic’ water and all … Yep, and I agree with you that Bryan Green is ‘politiking on this one’…

    Bryan is one election away from being Premier. It’s either him or Will. Bryan is very close. My how the composite ‘we’ have forgotten … how Bryan was the Paul Harris before Paul Harris, and how Paul Lennon was the Bryan Green before Bryan. And how Robin Gray was the Paul Lennon before Paul …

    In trying to put this ‘article’ together and even so while trying to keep abreast of the successive developments, I simply could not get it all in there.

    Yes, you remember the Bell Bay Power station. In true 1984 style, it’s now the Tamar Valley Power Station, no longer fuel oil, but now natural gas. Oops, Matt Groom is bringing in a couple of hundred diesel generators … [ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-24/tasmanian-government-fast-tracks-approval-for-diesel-generators/7195594 ] Before we know it, we’ll be back to the “George H Evans” the floating power station (ship) bought from the Kiwis in 1967 and moored in Bell Bay to solve that drought crisis.

    We don’t learn that that we must temper our population and our consumption. What about Alinta? Where did they run off to?

  98. Pete Godfrey

    February 28, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Bad news folks storage levels are now at 16.1%

    On the 25th Jan they were 18.9%

    7th Feb after lots of rain steady at 18.9%

    23rd Feb down to 16.8%

    29th Feb down to 16.1 %

    I hope that the religious right of the Liberal party have more clout with God than they appear to have or we will have lights out sooner rather than later.

    The claims of having enough water until winter when hopefully rains will come are looking pretty shaky. At the current usage we have less than 6 weeks until the dams drop to 12%.

    Not sure how far they can drop after that before the head is so low the generators become useless.

    Great Lake is one that has lots of head to the generators at Poatina but then it doesn’t have much water left looking at Garry’s photos.

    Lake Gordon well the generators are at the bottom of the dam so not much to go there.

    Get your candle supply soon folks.

  99. Clive Stott

    February 28, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Remember when the state government implemented Daylight Savings in the summer of 1967 to save power which saved water.
    http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/php/Daylight Savings/dls84.pdf

    And I seem to remember a ship was brought into the Tamar and connected to the grid?

  100. Clive Stott

    February 28, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks for the article Garry and all the work you put into it.

    It seems to be the way that some people get into these positions and have no idea how to manage them. Not sure where their brains are at times.

    Funny you mention the submarine telephone cable from Vic to the Stanley Nut. I am sitting here looking at a three and a half inch long section of that cable right here on my desk.
    And yes the Australian stamps https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphitrite

    We were told we were going to be the food bowl, nobody told us we would be the dust bowl when they were going for it to deplete our water storages.

    The Bass Strait Triangle soap opera keeps going on, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_Strait

    Submarine cables in this area have a habit of failing and we are foolishly even considering another one. Go figure.

  101. Robert LePage

    February 28, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    This is where the Greens lose their credibility by starting up the “save Lake Pedder” bleat again.
    How can they ever be considered as an alternative Government when they do not take our problems seriously?
    Yes it might be a nice beach but fresh water is worth more than gold now.
    Please forget all the misplaced sidetracks and concentrate on the main problem,
    We are going to be dependent on power supplied by diesel generators. Really. In this day and age and having spent several fortunes building dams.
    Push for our ridiculous governments to subsidise roof top solar to get us back into the game, build more wind turbines, investigate pumping water back to the dams with excess power but forget pie in the sky dreams of restoring lake Pedder.

  102. Pete Godfrey

    February 28, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Nicely put together Garry. Oh an by the way congratulations on becoming a certified fossil.

    It is odd that Bryan Green is so keen on politiking on this one too, as his government are responsible for spending $30 million converting the Bell Bay Power Station to run on gas then closing it down 6 years later.

  103. Luigi

    February 28, 2016 at 9:24 am

    John, Thanks for pointing out the part that both our Labor and Liberal state governments played in depleting our water asset in the period of the carbon tax. The Hydro made a lot of money for a state that would otherwise have been bankrupt with that water.

    I just wonder when our current government will initiate state-wide water restrictions and power use rationing. Or will they wait until the pipes run dry and we all brown out?

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