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The Basslink High-Voltage DC Power Link

Back in February 2000 a tender was granted for building a high voltage DC power link between Victoria and Tasmania. It was finally commissioned in April 2006 and now feeds power in both directions between Victoria and Tasmania, depending on demand in those states.

By Michael Goebel

Click for larger image

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 water.

Enter Basslink

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.

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