The Hodgman Government and the Australian Government have announced a commitment to pursue the next stage of business case development for a second Bass Strait interconnector.
A second interconnector would help unlock the massive potential for renewable energy development in Tasmania. It would unlock jobs and it would help us achieve our goal of powering Tasmania with completely renewable energy.
I want to be very clear, a second cable is all about facilitating additional Tasmanian renewable energy development and the export of only our excess energy.
It will not be used to drain our dams at the expense of Tasmanians like Labor and the Greens allowed. We have raised the prudent water levels to provide greater security and these will not be compromised.
Proponents like UPC who are behind the Robbins Island windfarm project are strongly in support of a second interconnector. In order to develop the full potential of their project they need to know that when the wind is blowing they can always get the energy they generate to market. Today’s announcement will give them and others confidence that they can progress their energy generation projects.
That includes Hydro Tasmania, who have plans to significantly expand hydro generation capacity in Tasmania with $1 billion of investments over 10 years. They are also continuing to investigate pumped hydro opportunities.
We are well on track to deliver our target of being 100 per cent renewable energy self-sufficient by 2022 and the second interconnector will promote further renewable development allowing Tasmania to be a net exporter of energy and then better placed to be part of the solution for the mainland as well.
We have the unique opportunity to be the envy of the nation and leverage off our historic investment in renewables by providing more cheap, affordable and renewable energy to Tasmanians to reduce cost of living pressures and also to help provide the renewable energy that the rest of Australia needs.
The estimated cost of the next stage of work is up to $20 million, to be 50:50 funded by the Australian and Tasmanian governments through ARENA and TasNetworks.
Guy Barnett, Minister for Energy