Victoria and Tasmania have different power supply problems. Victoria has Australia’s most
inefficient thermal power stations, burning brown coal – Loy Yang power station
and mine is shown above. So it makes sense to use Tasmania’s hydo-electricity
when it is available, especially during peak power periods.
On the other hand, when Tasmania suffers droughts they often do
not have enough hydro-electric power capacity to meet their own demand. When
that happens, Tasmania can draw power from Victoria’s grid.
But there is a problem – the 300km-wide stretch of often-wild
water between the two called Bass Strait. And connecting them is not quite as
easy as erecting a couple of giant pylons and stringing some cable over the
Basslink is a 400kV DC bi-directional, undersea electricity
interconnector, rated to transmit 500MW continuously and 630MW peak from
Tasmania. The link can operate at up to 600MW for up to 10 hours, providing that
it is ‘pre-cooled’ (six hours at no more than 300MW). In the other direction, up
to 480MW can be sent to the relatively small Tasmanian grid.