Restoring Confidence in our Energy Security
Tasmania has experienced the worst energy crisis in the state’s history. Our proud reputation for producing renewable, reliable and efficient power has been eroded by drought, technical failure and appalling government decision making.
Our major industrial businesses were established as a result of an abundance of competitive and reliable renewable power but they are now at a critical crossroad.
While the current Liberal Government sits on its hands, Tasmania’s energy security, business confidence and reputation is under threat.
Leadership, innovation and long-term vision are required to restore our natural competitive advantage in renewable energy.
Labor supports the completion of investigations into a second Basslink cable.
Investing in a more diverse large scale renewable energy generation system for Tasmania will protect our energy intensive industries, provide energy security in times of drought and enhance the case for a second interconnector.
We need to seize upon the current energy crisis to increase and diversify our renewable energy generation capacity.
Unleashing investment in new large-scale wind, solar and other renewable developments is vital to the State’s economy.
It will assist our hydro-electric system return to normal storage levels.
It will boost the confidence of our major industrial businesses.
It will bring significant new economic activity in the State.
It will pave the way for Tasmania to become the national leader and a global player in the transition to electric and low-carbon transport.
Renewable Energy Development Target
It took vision and leadership to build the hydroelectric system which has served Tasmania well for over 100 years.
Our proud history of leadership in hydro-industrialisation and wind power generation has shown us the multitude of benefits that we can reap by becoming early movers.
In addressing the current energy crisis, we must combine the long term thinking of our forefathers with today’s new energy technologies to deploy solutions that will set Tasmania up as a leader for the opportunities of the next 50 years and beyond.
To ensure Tasmania can restore its natural competitive advantage in renewable energy. Labor will commit to a 500 MW Renewable Energy Development Target.
Labor will actively engage with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to secure up to $200 million in public financing for eligible projects.
The policy will be designed to leverage three dollars of private investment for every public dollar spent to fund as much as $800 million in new renewable energy investments in the State.
This investment could secure as much as 500 MW in new renewable energy capacity in the State over the next decade.
This represents up to 1.5 million megawatt-hours in additional renewable electricity generation for Tasmania.
This figure is over 15% of the long-term sustainable yield from our hydro-electric system, and over 50% of net imports from Basslink at the peak of the last drought in 2007/08.
At $200 million, the allocation for the Renewable Energy Development Target represents only a fraction of the $1 billion investment for the second Bass Strait interconnector.
Previous feasibility studies have identified installing more renewable energy as a crucial prerequisite for the viability of a second interconnector.
Labor’s initiative will bolster the business case for a second cable to export renewable energy.
The investment will support thousands of jobs in the construction phase and the creation of new industries and opportunities underpinned by renewable energy.
The private sector is ready and willing to deliver new power generation in Tasmania, as demonstrated by the proposed 99 megawatt Granville Harbour Wind Farm on Tasmania’s West Coast.
Larger scale projects will be delivered through a reverse auction mechanism similar to the scheme that has been successfully implemented by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). This model has been proven to deliver renewable energy at the lowest possible cost.
Unlike the ACT model, however, participants in the scheme would retain ownership of renewable energy certificates as a further incentive to stimulate investment.
Labor will also make provision within the target for low interest loans to support commercial scale solar installations and community solar grids.
This will allow more homes and businesses to benefit directly from behind the meter renewable energy installations.
New Energy Technologies Initiative
Tasmania can also take advantage of new technology to expand the reach of renewable electricity into transportation.
This includes a transition to sustainable transport and new energy storage technologies that can complement the capabilities of our hydro system.
Passenger and commercial transport represents a new large market for renewable energy demand.
Tasmania currently imports more than a $1 billion worth of petrol and diesel every year.
To achieve the vision of becoming truly self-sufficient, over time we need to steadily decrease our reliance on fossil fuels.
This will not happen overnight, but it requires leadership and innovation on the part of Government to make emerging technologies accessible to the masses.
Labor’s $27.5 million New Energy Technologies Initiative will allow Tasmania to seize the opportunities created by a transition to sustainable transport and renewable energy storage.
$7.5 million for alternative fuel transport
Labor’s has long standing commitment to make Tasmania a national leader in battery-electric vehicle technology.
We recognise that this an area where the technology is rapidly changing and other states have progressed plans for public charging networks.
Labor will investigate alternative transport projects in Tasmania including advances in hydrogen technology.
Across the globe a hydrogen-electric fuel cell revolution is occuring and vehicles have been released in the global marketplace.
These vehicles can be refilled in less than three minutes and offer mileage of up to 700km on a single tank.
Fuel cell vehicles are therefore the perfect complement to battery-electric vehicles ensuring that we can achieve the transition away from fossil fuels across the broader range of personal and commercial mobility applications.
Hydrogen is created by using electricity to separate water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.
The production of hydrogen in Tasmania will introduce a new use for our electricity, will help reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels, and at a larger scale create a product that could be exported to international markets.
Project developers such as The Hydrogen Utility are working at the forefront of hydrogen infrastructure commercialisation in Australia – with projects underway in Sydney and Melbourne – are also based in our State.
Exciting new examples are emerging worldwide for the application of hydrogen technology in heavy-duty, transit and commuter-rail applications.
Transitioning to locally generated electricity and hydrogen will displace the $1 billion spent on importing fossil fuels to Tasmania every year.
Labor will work with private enterprise to facilitate the deployment of hydrogen technologies in the State and establish supply chains that will enable us to seize on these
This includes the installation of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and a trial fleet of fuel cell buses and service trucks for Metro, councils and Government Business Enterprises to guarantee sufficient demand for these assets during the initial years
New Energy Storage Technologies
Our electricity networks are evolving and the initiatives proposed in Labor’s policy will accelerate and support this transition.
The generation of additional renewable energy, particularly from intermittent resources such as wind and solar necessitates the development of innovative storage solutions and network redesign.
Thanks to the reforms initiated by Labor, Tasmania is in a unique position to harness this transition, with TasNetworks now being the single operator for both transmission and distribution networks in the State.
Labor will forego $20 million in dividends from TasNetworks to allow the company to work with renewable energy storage developers to future-proof their network and assets and take advantage of technological advances in renewable energy generation and storage.
This $20 million commitment will leverage $1 dollar of private investment for every public dollar spent to enable developers of energy storage systems to trial a portfolio of new energy storage technologies.
At the transmission level, energy storage will need to be deployed strategically to accommodate new large-scale renewable energy developments associated with the Renewable Energy Development Target.
At the distribution level, energy storage will need to be deployed within distribution subnetworks to accommodate new electricity uses from charging stations as well as excess power from distributed solar generation.
TasNetworks will also need to adapt to the rapid take-up of household battery storage technology.
Rather than being seen as a threat to the business, new energy storage systems – based on batteries or hydrogen fuel cells – can complement the storage capabilities of our existing hydro system and can be deployed to strengthen our networks.
Industry investment attraction
Labor recognises that increased renewable energy generation must be underpinned by a strategy to increase electricity consumption.
Labor will use proven initiatives like the Payroll Tax Incentive Scheme to attract new industries and employers to Tasmania.
Tasmania should aspire to become a centre of excellence for small scale, high value industry, advanced manufacturing and food production.
Sparking a new wave of investment in renewable energy will also help attract complementary industries to the State, in the same way that the Woolnorth wind farm attracted Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas to establish a plant in Wynyard.
New opportunities could include manufacturing hydrogen and electric charging stations and retrofitting public transport.
Labor’s policy will restore the opportunity to attract investment in data centres, which require high levels of energy security and are increasingly seeking a low carbon footprint.
Renewable energy will also be a key competitive advantage for energy intensive major industrials.
Investing in new renewable energy generation capacity will help protect Tasmania’s vital major industrial base, while also helping to attract new industries into the future, including the potential for a magnesium smelter to take advantage of the state’s abundant magnesite resource.
Securing existing assets and expertise
As outlined in our “10 Steps to Restore Confidence in Tasmania’s Energy Security” Labor will commit to retaining the Tamar Valley Power Station (TVPS).
TVPS and the Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) are critical strategic assets for Tasmania.
If the Liberal Government had succeeded with its plans to sell the CCGT prior to the Basslink failure the cost and magnitude of the energy crisis would have been far greater.
Labor will also ensure that long term gas contracts for the power station are secured on a commercial basis to avoid unsustainable price hikes for other gas users.
Tasmania’s greatest energy assets are its people.
Staff within Hydro Tasmania’s consulting arm, Entura, have provided expert advice on renewable energy developments right around the world.
Labor believes Entura and its skilled staff should remain in Tasmania so that they can be fully utilised in the pursuit of new renewable energy opportunities.
Similarly, Labor will maintain ownership of Hydro Tasmania’s mainland retailer, Momentum.
Momentum’s market reputation as a supplier of renewable energy has been damaged as a result of the energy crisis and the Basslink outage.
Labor’s investment in renewable energy will restore and strengthen Momentum’s reputation and allow the retailer to gain GreenPower accreditation.