Guy Barnett announced that we are now officially 100% powered on renewable energy. It’s been a long journey that started in 1895 with our first hydro units being installed but it really kicked off with Eric Reece, better known as Electric Eric as his second stint as premier of Tasmania from 1972 to 1975. So from around the time I was born to now (40 odd years later) we have declared the state of Tasmania powered 100% by renewable energy.
Fun fact: Eric was from the Braddon electorate which makes sense as when you want to get things done, you engage a North-West Coaster. But Braddon used to be the electorate called ‘Darwin’. Which I didn’t know till I researched this story.
But are we at 100% renewable energy, really?
Looking at the network distributed energy, we most definitely are. We export more energy than we import. With the Granville Harbour wind farm coming online, we have really increased our energy generation capacity. Robbins Island wind farm is in the works as well. There a few more projects in the wings that will hopefully get moving soon.
But we haven’t got time to rest on our laurels.
We run the risk of over supply and having nowhere to send it as the Bass Link cable between Tasmania and Victoria is tapped out at 600MW. That’s when it’s even going at all. This could be a real bottle neck for future large scale renewable energy projects in Tasmania.
This is why we need the Marinus Link to be pushed into existence sooner rather than later. This will be a 1,500 MW cable and will allow these new projects access to markets to sell our excess energy.
Ideally, it would be nice to see our stable-and-cheaper-than-the-mainland-energy prices attract more industry to the region. It’s an appealing thought, but the tyranny of distance and freighting materials in and out of the island are major hurdles to over come. Still, having reliable, cheap and green energy is a step in the right direction to help local economies thrive. Here’s to hoping it is the catalyst to get things moving in the right direction.
So once again the question: is Tasmania 100% powered on renewable energy?
If we encompass all forms of energy, most likely not. We import around 2,700 terra-joules which is around 750 GW of Energy
We import millions of litres of diesel, petrol and other petroleum based fuels. We also dig up quite a bit of coal and import some to run boilers and kilns.
With this in mind, I’m thinking we are a bit pre-emptive in declaring Tasmania 100% renewable powered, but we are far further along than any other state in Australia. OnceMarinus is up and running and exporting liquid hydrogen from our excess energy generations actually becomes a ‘thing’. Plus, throw Tas Hydro’s plans for pumped hydro storage into the mix we have the opportunity to be a huge exporter of energy to the Eastern states. This could well be over and above what we import in raw energy figures as a total for our island state.
NSW are committed to 12GW of Renewable Energy, Victoria is committed to develop 6 renewable energy zones, South Australia ran off solar panels for a quite a while the other day. AGL are building large battery storage projects near its soon-to-be-closed Loy Yang coal plant in Victoria.
In the absence of Federal Government leadership on energy policy and direction, the states are going it alone. The end result is that the majority of Australia’s energy being sourced from renewable energy in the future is ultimately inevitable. Still the other states are long way from reaching Tasmania’s dizzying heights.
Tasmania punches well above its weight and this comes from the people who live here. Born and bred to be resourceful, forward thinking and tough. We have to be, as carrying that bigger island to the North us on our shoulders all the time, is hard work.
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