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Victoria-Tasmania power link opens

May 9, 2006 au.biz.yahoo.com

The world's longest underwater electricity link is now in operation following the official opening of the Basslink power cable between Victoria and Tasmania.

The 360km electricity link spanning Bass Strait was simultaneously launched by Victorian Premier Steve Bracks and his Tasmanian counterpart Paul Lennon.

The link, known as an inter-connector, runs from Loy Yang, Victoria's largest power station, across Bass Strait to Five Mile Bluff in northern Tasmania.

National Grid Australia Managing Director Bill Russell said Basslink would play a vital role in securing mainland Australia's energy needs.

"Back in 1999 when we submitted our tender to build Basslink, National Grid recognised the importance of the project to Tasmania and mainland Australia," Mr Russell said.

"This has been a large project for our company ... and one which National Grid is very proud to be part of," he said.

The $780 million project will enhance the security of electricity supplies on both sides of Bass Strait - protecting Tasmania against the risk of drought-constrained energy shortages and safeguarding Victoria and southern mainland states against the forecast shortage of peak load power in summer.

Basslink has the capacity to export up to 600 megawatts of power to Victoria and import up to 300 megawatts to Tasmania.

National Grid won the tender to build Basslink in February 2000.

A two-and-a-half-year environmental assessment followed with the federal, Victorian and Tasmanian governments approving Basslink in November 2002.

Basslink is owned and operated by UK-based international transmission company, National Grid Transco.