UPDATE: Basslink: Independent investigation of 2015 cable failure finds cause unknown

Australian coinsAustralian coins

Basslink Pty., part of the Keppel Infrastructure Trust portfolio, said on Friday that the independent investigation of its 2015 cable outage supported its view that it was a “force majeure” event under its agreements with Hydro Tasmania.

Cable Consulting International (CCI), which was appointed to independently investigate the outage, continued to describe the exact cause of the subsea cable’s failure as “cause unknown,” Basslink said in a statement, adding this is “entirely refuting” allegations from Hydro Tasmania and the State of Tasmania.

“Basslink has consistently maintained its position that the cable failure was a force majeure event under the Basslink Services Agreement (BSA) and Basslink Operations Agreement (BOA). The recent CCI Report further supports Basslink’s view,” it said in the statement.

Hydro Tasmania told Shenton Wire’s via email that it received the report late on Friday.

“We have no comment at this time. The dispute remains subject to arbitration and it would be inappropriate to discuss it further,” a Hydro Tasmania spokesperson said via email. “The dispute has no effect on Tasmania’s energy security,” the spokesperson added.

The state government is seeking around A$122 million in compensation from Basslink. Disputes over the outage have been referred to arbitration.

The dispute with Hydro Tasmania centers around a nearly six-month outage starting in 2015 of the 370-km electricity interconnector between Australia’s Victoria state and Tasmania, held by Basslink, which reportedly contributed to an energy crisis in Tasmania.

Basslink has said the cause of the outage was unknown and a force majeure event, while Hydro Tasmania blames exceeding the cable’s design limit, causing it to degrade.

Basslink has said that Hydro Tasmania’s disputes over the outage were all based on allegations in reports from DNV GL, obtained by the Australian electricity generator’s lawyers, and based on theoretical modelling and not on any testing of the Basslink HVDC cable.

This article was originally published on Saturday 1 December 2018 at 17:33 SGT; it has since been updated to include Hydro Tasmania’s comment.

Get the Shenton Wire morning briefing in your inbox