Wednesday, 06 June 2018 05:10

Basslink power interconnector back up and running

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The Basslink power interconnector, which was damaged in March, has been repaired and is back in service as of 5 June, the operator, Basslink, says.

The company's chief executive, Malcolm Eccles, said in a statement on Tuesday: “We are pleased to resume normal operations and would also like to thank our repair team for their hard work and commitment over the past weeks.”

Basslink operates the Basslink Interconnector, the undersea data and telecommunications cable that connects Tasmania to the Australian mainland, The power interconnector was damaged when routine maintenance was begun on 24 March.

Basslink said 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.

It said about the damage that 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 at the time.

That date of coming back on-line was then put off to 31 May, and again to early June.

In its Tuesday statement, Basslink again stressed that the current incident had nothing to do with the outage of December 2015 and its ongoing dispute with the Tasmanian Government.

The dispute referred to is 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.

Hydro Tasmania, the government body that is the predominant electricity generator in the state, said the outage had had no meaningful impact on Tasmania’s energy security or finances.

Chief executive Steve Davy said: “The outage was not ideal. But we’ve comfortably managed the situation with no meaningful impact on energy security.

“Basslink is an important part of Tasmania’s suite of energy options. But we also have a huge, world-class hydropower system that’s served Tasmanians well for more than a century. It’s supported by
excellent wind power resources.

“Hydro Tasmania’s storages stood at 36.7% on the day the outage started, and were 37.8% on Monday. So they’ve gone up slightly during the outage, with no energy importing and hardly any gas generation.

“(The level of) 37.8% is an extremely secure level as we enter the wettest months of the year and comfortably exceeds the levels the government established to ensure energy security in Tasmania.”

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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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