Power generation & water use

The Bell Bay Pulp Mill will use up to 26 gigalitres (GL) of water annually – this represents approximately one per cent of the flows into Lake Trevallyn.

The water usage will have no impact on the environmental water flows through the Cataract Gorge.

The pulp mill is designed to minimize water use and will use up to 35% less water per tonne of pulp than comparable existing mills.

Excess water, treated through a biological treatment process, will be released through the outfall

The pulp mill off-take water will be taken from water that would have otherwise flowed through the Trevallyn Power Station (which is a hydro power station that generates power from the water flow). The volumes that will continue to flow through the power station are sufficient to supply the water needs of a city twice the size of Melbourne.

The water required to operate the pulp mill would have generated 0.86 Megawatts (MW) of electrical power at the Trevallyn Power Station. In contrast, the Pulp Mill, when built, will generate 180 MW – with over 100 MW to be supplied into the Tasmanian electricity grid.

To put the surplus power generation into perspective:

  • The Trevallyn Power Station generates 80 MW in total.
  • All industry and domestic power usage in the greater Launceston area (defined by the 7248, 7249 and 7250 post codes) averages 76 MW.

Waste water from the pulp mill will be released into the sea approximately 23 km to the northeast of the mill site near Five Mile Bluff through an undersea pipeline extending 2.7 kilometres offshore along the sea bed.