By Guy Barnett, Minister for Energy
Renewable energy is perhaps Tasmania’s greatest economic opportunity for the next decade, with our Battery of the Nation pumped hydro plans, new wind farm projects and now a bigger second interconnector set to create thousands of jobs and billions in investment for Tasmania over the coming years.
Tasmania has what the rest of the country needs and Battery of the Nation represents one of the most reliable and cost-competitive solutions for meeting Australia’s demand for affordable, reliable and clean energy.
We will provide the nation not just renewable energy, but the most cost-competitive storage options in Australia through our pumped hydro projects, meaning we can supply renewable energy even when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun’s not shining.
The now larger 1,500 megawatt interconnector will unlock Tasmania’s full renewable energy potential, which according to the latest independent economic modelling for Project Marinus, estimates up to $6.5 billion will be injected into the Tasmanian economy and create 2,400 jobs over the future years to come.
While the new interconnector will deliver huge financial and employment benefits to Tasmania, it will also help Australia’s transition to a low emissions future by providing clean, readily dispatchable renewable energy.
The Tasmanian government is committed to ensuring that Tasmanians only pay their fair share for what is strategic national infrastructure benefiting the nation.
This is nation building, and both State and Federal governments are working together to grab this enormous opportunity for Tasmania with both hands.
Importantly, Tasmanians come first, with our Tasmania First Energy policy, we are focused on delivering Tasmanian residents and businesses the lowest regulated electricity prices in the Nation and being 100 per cent self-sufficiency in renewables by 2022, and we are on track.
Battery of the Nation will make Tasmania, the engine room of Australia. It’s about utilising our significant natural advantages – producing an abundance of renewable energy for our state and beyond, whilst placing downward pressure on Tasmanian prices as we sell surplus power to the mainland, delivering a revenue stream to invest in our state and essential services – for all Tasmanians.
Practically on the ground, delivering Battery of the Nation will mean building more wind farms, more infrastructure and more pumped hydro capacity.
This means jobs, thousands of new Tasmania jobs. These projects will create jobs in design, engineering, project management, civil construction, electrical and mechanical trade skills, and transport and so on throughout the Tasmanian supply chain.
It means kids will be trained and given real job opportunities in their local area, rather than leaving to seek opportunities elsewhere. Our regional towns will experience an influx of people into the area, buying houses, spending money in the local shops, pubs and business, supporting the local sporting teams and community organisations.
Tasmania’s credentials as a leader in the production of affordable, reliable and clean renewable energy will also catch the attention of business across the country and internationally, particularly in manufacturing and mineral processing, leading to more local business investment, more jobs and more community benefits.
To ensure Tasmanian benefit from these new jobs we are working with the Australian Government who have committed $17 million to provide fee-free training in priority skills for Tasmanians to ensure we have the highly skilled workforce to build and maintain pumped hydro to realise our renewable energy opportunities.
We are focused on ensuring Tasmanians have the skills to be job-ready when the employment opportunities arrive.
Battery of the Nation will also help establish Tasmania as a global leader in tackling climate change. Tasmania was the first state in this country to reach zero net emissions in 2016. Tasmania has the lowest per capita emissions of all states and territories and one of the lowest emitters of carbon dioxide on the planet.
Tasmania’s up-sized interconnector and energy investments will deliver up to 45 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent reduction in emissions by 2050.
This hasn’t happened by accident. We have a climate action policy and strategies to deliver practical measures to support business and households to improve efficiencies and reduce emissions, an action plan that was delivered by this Government.
The Hodgman majority Liberal Government’s number one priority is to create jobs, grow the economy and protect the Tasmanian way of life. We have a plan to achieve this and it’s clear that plan is working.