Two big energy reports have been released in the last few weeks full of goals for the future and cautionary tales when it comes to energy security.
The first to be made public was the report compiled by the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, of which I’m a member.
Chaired by Independent MLC Ivan Dean, the committee took an enormous amount of evidence from a broad range of sources.
The process is probably best remembered by a stand-off between the committee and Treasurer Peter Gutwein over ‘that letter’.
The letter, which still hasn’t seen the light of day, details the Government’s plan to sell the Tamar Valley Power Station.
Both the Public Accounts Committee report and the Energy Security Taskforce report called for the retention and ongoing use of the power station as an energy security insurance policy.
At the risk of getting too political in these pages, putting it on the market has been proven to be a very bad decision, both in terms of energy security and locking in vital gas contracts.
But while the reports provided context by looking back, they predominantly looked forward with clear goals for Tasmania’s energy security future.
The idea of Tasmania being 100% self-sufficient is one Labor has long been a champion of.
If by 2022 our energy supply is 100% renewable, it would be an outcome we could be very proud of as a state.
We know there’s likely to be additional wind energy coming online with both the Granville Harbour project on the West Coast and the Wild Cattle Hill project in the Central Highlands looking good.
We would have liked to see both these projects further progressed by now but they both have bipartisan support which is important.
In the short-term, Tasmania faces some challenges when it comes to the cost of energy and the long-term future of gas contracts.
Labor wants to see gas contracts between Hydro and the Tasmanian Gas Pipeline finalised as soon as possible. Our major employers, like Bell Bay Aluminium and TEMCO deserve certainty.
And there’s power price pain for a lot of small-medium sized businesses and not-for-profit organisations.
We’ve been talking to businesses and organisations facing an increase in the vicinity of 100%.
While we acknowledge the Government is offering modest relief to some customers, many businesses will still struggle to absorb the cost increases.
By Scott Bacon, Tasmanian Shadow Treasurer