Wednesday, 11 April 2018 09:03

Basslink repair to take six weeks longer than first stated

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Basslink, the operator of the Basslink Interconnector, the undersea data and telecommunications cable that connects Tasmania to the Australian mainland, says the power interconnector will be back and working by 31 May, six weeks later than originally notified.

The power interconnector was damaged when routine maintenance was begun on 24 March, with Basslink saying at the time that a third-party contractor had damaged a piece of equipment and that the interconnector would be up again by 14 April.

In a statement issued overnight, Basslink said a high-pressure system within a piece of equipment at the Victorian converter station had been repaired.

"To return the interconnector to service, we require specialised expertise and equipment to be brought in to re-pressurise this equipment. It is a highly technical exercise," the company said.

"Based on the latest available information, the anticipated return to service date has been revised to 31 May."

Basslink is in the midst of a dispute with the Tasmanian Government over an earlier outage in December 2015 which lasted for six months. The government is seeking damages of $122 million; Basslink denies that it was responsible for the outage.

The Basslink statement said: "This incident is unrelated to the outage in December 2015 and the ongoing dispute with the state of Tasmania."

Contacted for comment, Hydro Tasmania, the Tasmanian Government body that is the predominant electricity generator in the state, said Tasmania was well-placed to manage a Basslink outage lasting up to 31 May.

“The extended Basslink outage is not ideal. But it doesn’t meaningfully affect Tasmania’s energy security,” Hydro Tasmania chief executive Steve Davy said in a statement.

“Autumn has produced good above-average inflows so far. We expect to manage comfortably without the ability to import.

“Hydro Tasmania storages were at 37% on Monday. That’s an extremely secure level as we approach the wettest months of the year. It’s also well above the High Reliability Level set by the Energy Security Taskforce."

The statement added that the Combined Cycle Gas Turbine at the Tamar Valley Power Station was not currently operating, but available at 10 days’ notice. The station also has about 150 megawatts of quickly-accessible gas generation.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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