Hydro Tasmania’s greed and mismanagement, the failure of the Basslink cable and an unexpected drought have brought power generation in Tasmania to a crisis point.
We are now in panic mode with large industrial users cutting production and emergency measures in place.
Hydro Tasmania has committed $44 million to hire up to 200 hundred diesel generators and has predicted up to $22 million a month for fuel to run them.
If those figures are correct, after 3 months running the generators we will have spent $110 million. And what will we have to show for it? The generators will still belong to someone else and the diesel will have all gone up in smoke.
Imagine if Hydro Tasmania spent $110 million on solar panel installations across Tasmania.
That amount of money would be enough to put a 5.0kw system on over 12,200 homes across the state.
Or make every single government building, every hospital, every school, college and university, every local council building, all the museums and libraries, and every sports ground and community centre in the state, self sufficient in electricity for the next 25 years.
Spending the money in Tasmania would create hundreds of new jobs with a massive amount of work for solar installers, wholesalers and distributers, truck drivers, etc with the usual flow on effects running through the state economy. The power saved by using solar generation could then be sold to the mainland, meaning no loss of revenue for the Hydro.
Under the present scheme, most of the money leaves the state.
The dire state of our water storages means there isn’t time to install that many panels before the water runs out. Recent rains have been welcome but are only a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed.
Lake Gordon for example covers 272 square kilometres and is 43 metres down from it’s full level. That is an absolutely colossal amount of water and will take years to refill.
The same weather that has brought the rain is also delaying the repair of the Basslink cable.
If the rain continues, we may just avoid the rolling power blackouts that will otherwise be required. If power cuts do occur it will be a disaster for families and businesses alike.
How many people are well prepared to face a Tasmanian winter without power?
Some people are preparing by buying their own generators, but just owning a generator is not a straight forward replacement for mains power.
The small handyman generator will not power much more than your lights and your toaster. It certainly won’t run your electric heater.
A generator large enough to run your home, including some of your heating, can be sourced for around $2,000. That’s fine if you can afford it, but you can’t just run a cord out and plug it into your heat pump.
In order to use the power from your generator you need a generator inlet connected to your switchboard and a proper isolation switch to select between mains and generator power and avoid causing safety issues for your neighbours.
There is no easy fix to the power problems we face at the moment. Let’s hope the rain continues, the Basslink cable is repaired and that those responsible for this debacle are held properly accountable.
For advice and quotes on solar panels and generator inlets phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711.