The hydro generation in Tasmania is picking up speed with total electricity generation surging by 28 per cent during the March 2020 quarter as compared to the previous corresponding quarter (or pcp) to stand at 892 megawatts.
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The average hydro generation across regions of the National Electricity Market (or NEM) surged by 208 megawatts during the period amid a material reduction in the price of hydro offers due to a decline in the gas price, increased rainfall, and lower spot prices across NEM.
In the status quo, The Tasmania Government has outlined the vision and suite of action for the future of renewable energy generation across the state.
Tasmania Renewable Energy Target
The Australian energy sector is undergoing a period of unprecedented change, and many industry experts identify renewable energy as a key economic driver for the future, and over the last decade, Tasmania has built its economy on the world-class renewable energy.
Tasmania generates a majority of its electricity from substantial hydro resources and wind resources, and the state plans to become fully renewable. To this effect, the state recently announced a new renewable target of 200 per cent of the own demand by 2040.
The state committed a renewable energy target of an additional 10,500-gigawatt hours per year by 2040, which would further take the total target to ~21,000 gigawatt hours per year.
The recent Renewable Energy Plan presented by the state aims at transforming the state into a global renewable energy powerhouse while making energy work for the local community and growing the economy.
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Tasmania aims to reach a 100 per cent self-sufficiency in renewables ahead of its 2022 target, which would further form the foundation for increasing the renewable energy production by twofold of the state demand by 2040.
Under the proposed renewable energy target, the state Government would continue to support the Battery of the Nation, Project Marinus, and other existing and future renewable energy sources development.
In 2018, the state produced its first energy policy to become self-sufficient in renewables by 2022; however, it is now planning to fast track milestone ahead of schedule with two major wind farms, namely Cattle Hill and Granville Harbour.
With the state plans to fast track the 2022 target and double the relative output by 2040, in energy terms, it means the state would generate additional 10,500 gigawatt hours per year by 2040, and the state also suggested that it would set an interim target of achieving 150 per cent of 2020 output in 10 years, i.e., by 2030.
Renewable Hydrogen Action Plan
Countries across the globe are looking for a way to completely decarbonise their economies in order to reach a net-zero emission or carbon neutrality.
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While global economies are looking for a way to do that renewable energy is gaining much traction, especially hydrogen, produced from renewable energy, and Tasmania is in a unique position where a large-scale renewable hydrogen production and distribution industry could be developed.
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In the Renewable Hydrogen Action Plan, the state suggested that it could supply renewable hydrogen both to the global and local market, with local use providing valuable economic energy security and environmental benefits by reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels.
The state plans to commence the renewable hydrogen and transport it locally by 2022 to 2024 while starting the export in the period of 2025 to 2027. The state plans to become a significant global producer and exporter of renewable by 2030.
The Tasmanian Government also plans to deliver $50 million in order to achieve those goals over a comprehensive period of 10 years, which would include a $20 million package for Tasmanian Renewable Hydrogen Fund, $20 million in concessional loans, $10 million worth of support services including competitive electricity supply arrangements and payroll tax relief, and assistance for developing offtakes for hydrogen while facilitating for land and infrastructure access.
Hydro Generation Projects
- The Project Marinus
This project is a 1500 megawatt proposed undersea electricity connection of the state with Victoria, which would allow it to export more of renewable energy reliably into the future grid.
To date, the Australian Government has contributed $5 million in order to further propagate the design of the project with ARENA or Australian Renewable Energy Agency providing further $10 billion, and through the TasNetworks, the state Government has matched the funding from ARENA to further progress ahead of the Feasibility study of the project.
In December 2019, the state released a positive Business Case Assessment for the project, which further suggested that a 1,500 megawatt cable in two stages of 750 megawatts along with the supporting transmission is both feasible and commercially viable.
On the economic perspective, the state assesses that the project would provide a benefit from $600 million to $3.1 billion to the energy market while delivering significant broader economic contribution with the construction and development of the Marinus Link, which along with some transmission between the state and Victoria would add economic value of up to $1.4 billion, leading to the addition of ~1,400 jobs in the state and in Victoria.
The state anticipates that the project would also open additional investment pipeline for the development of the Battery of the Nation project, up to $5.7 billion.
- Battery of the Nation
The project is in the list of 12 projects selected by the Australian Government for its underwriting program, and it could assist the state further in tapping renewable energy potential. Under Hydro Tasmania, the State Government has committed to spending up to $30 million to develop one of the three-selected sites at Lake Cethana, and Lake Rowallan to the investment-ready stage.
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