Eliminating sea currents

5 June 2002

Basslink Pty, which is developing the 600 MW, A$500 million interconnector linking Tasmania to mainland Australia across the Bass Strait, has said that it will for the sake of speed in gaining approvals abandon the proposed sea-earth return and go ahead with a new proposal involving a metallic return. Engineering considerations have now been settled, the project awaits only the approval of Hydro Tasmania. The project will still be a monopole, with a practical limit of 850 MW capacity, using a return cable bundled with the main connector. Basslink's preferred option was to bury electrodes offshore each side of the Strait to provide an earth-sea return path. It has been abandoned because of fears, entirely unfounded, say Basslink, that corrosion occurs in metal structures in contact with the sea owing to stray seagoing electric currents.

The link will bring 'clean' power from Tasmania's many hydro and wind resources to the mainland.

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