Legislation to lock in Tasmania’s renewable energy target of 200 per cent by 2040 has been tabled in Parliament, representing an ambitious plan to double the tiny island state’s hydro, wind and solar energy production and make it the “Battery of the Nation.”
The state’s Liberal energy minister, Guy Barnett, introduced the TRET bill on Friday, describing it as confirmation of the government’s commitment to the renewables sector, which had the potential to deliver billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs for Tasmania.
“The ambitious target will be supported by our world-class water and wind resources and will double our renewable energy generation of 10,500 gigawatt hours to 21,000 gigawatt hours,” Barnett said in a statement on Friday.
“Our renewable energy future has the potential to create thousands of jobs and benefit our state for decades to come, transforming Tasmania from being Australia’s renewable energy powerhouse into a world leader of clean, reliable and affordable energy.”
Tasmania’s Premier Peter Gutwein first unveiled the world-first plan in his State of the State address in March of this year, and promised to release an updated Renewable Energy Action Plan – informed by science – to back it up.
A first draft of that Action Plan was unveiled in May, outlining how Tasmania would effectively double its output of renewable energy by 2040, via an interim target of 15,750GWh per year, or 150 per cent renewables, with $7 billion invested in new projects by 2030.
Underpinning the ambition is the idea that Tasmania will become the “battery of the nation”, using its existing hydro-electric system, tapping into its wind resources and using new sub-sea links to dispatch renewable power to Victoria and the rest of the mainland National Electricity Market, while also creating a “renewable hydrogen” industry.
Not everyone is sold on the viability of the idea, however. A recent report – commissioned by the Bob Brown Foundation – argued it was unlikely Victoria would actually need Tasmania’s “deep storage” and warned the multi-billion dollar project could saddle the state with massive sunk costs.
Nonetheless, the Gutwein government continues to push development of the all-important Marinus link, the proposed second interconnector between Tasmania and the mainland that will be the key to unlocking huge wind farms and pumped hydro planned for the state.
“Tasmania has what the nation wants in reliable, clean and affordable renewable energy, and this legislation is another key plank in the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Action Plan that outlines our vision and suite of actions to develop renewable energy generation in Tasmania over the coming 20 years,” said Barnett on Friday.
“Our number one priority is to create jobs, rebuild the economy and protect the Tasmanian way of life, which is why we continue to back our State’s renewable energy future.”