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Energy stories

The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Energy sector:

Island gets renewables hub

Flinders Island has switched on a $13.38 million wind and solar hub which will supply on average 60 per cent of the island's power. Renewable supply could rise to 100 per cent when the weather is right. The picturesque island at the eastern end of Bass Strait is home to about 800 people who have previously depended on shipped-in diesel for power. The new hub uses sophisticated controls to manage a fluctuating mix of wind, solar and diesel power and is likely to be replicated in other remote Australian communities. The project was predominantly funded by Hydro Tasmania, with a $5.5 million contribution from the Federal Government's independent Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Similar hybrid technology has been installed on Tasmania's King Island, at Coober Pedy in South Australia, on Rottnest Island in Western Australia and at several smaller off-the-grid communities in the Northern Territory, but Flinders Island's system is the only one to have been built in shipping containers which were then taken to the island before being "plugged-in" to one another. There are plans to add tidal power to the Flinders Island mix over coming years and Hydro Tasmania's CEO, Steve Davy, said there was international interest in the project.

8 February 2018, Edition 191

$20m for 2nd power cable study

Edition 190_Daly

The State and Federal governments will jointly fund a $20 million business case study into a second Bass Strait electricity inter-connector that will be needed if Tasmania is to become the battery of the nation.

5 December 2017, Edition 190

Huonville High goes solar

Huonville High School is transforming its campus into a renewable and sustainable energy model after winning $133,000 in the Global High Schools Zayed Future Energy Prize. Team leader Toby Thorpe, 15, represented the school at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi in January. The school used part of its prize-money in October to install 125 solar panels and technology that will enable staff and students to monitor each panel’s efficiency. The panels are expected to save the school $33,000 over seven years. Toby Thorpe said work was underway to retro-fit a school building from a 0.5-star energy rating to a six-star energy rating, transforming it into a “renewable energy hub” that will include a bicycle powered cinema. “We also have plans … for a bio-digester and an energy training certificate course for Year 11 and 12 students,” Toby said. “The overall goal for Huonville High is to be a blueprint school for schools all across the world.” The Zayed Future Energy Prize competition was launched in 2008 by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi.

6 November 2017, Edition 189

Government promises 1,000 GWs

Edition 187_Cluny

The generation of renewable energy is to be ramped up in Tasmania to make the State totally self-reliant in terms of energy.

6 September 2017, Edition 187

$2.5m to map tidal energy

An ambitious UTAS project to record and map the energy within Australia’s tides, potentially unlocking billions in investment, has been granted $2.5 million by the Federal Government. The project aims to create an online atlas which will detail potential resources from some the world’s largest and most reliable tides. Leading researcher, Associate Professor Irene Penesis of the Australian Maritime College in Launceston, said: “Potential investors are currently held back by a lack of detailed information on tidal resources that would help them understand the risks and opportunities available.” The three-year research project will be funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Australia’s Minister for the Environment, Josh Frydenberg, said: “As a reliable, low-emissions form of energy, tidal-generation technology could be integrated to enhance the country’s grid stability, or to provide support to off-grid industrial sites and remote communities.”

31 July 2017, Edition 186

Wind project for Low Head

A fifth wind farm – at Low Head near the mouth of the Tamar River – has been added to Tasmania’s imposing line-up of proposals. The 10-turbine, privately funded project, first mooted in 2008, is planned for a stretch of coastal land between Low Head and Beechford. The $50 to $60 million development is being driven by local entrepreneur Shane Bartel. It is expected to create up to 50 jobs during construction and up to 10 on-going positions. Although relatively small, it has helped push total investment in new wind energy in the State beyond $2 billion, with around 410 turbines to be built and more than 1,200 MW of energy to be generated at five sites. The Low Head development application, development proposal and environmental management plan are open to public consultation at George Town Council until 26 August. In June, large projects had been announced at Wild Cattle Hill, in the central highlands, and on Robbins Island and Jims Plains, in the north-west. On 4 July, Cabinet met in Queenstown to ratify a supply agreement for the Westcoast Wind project on a cattle farm at Granville Harbour.

31 July 2017, Edition 186

Tasmania set to ride the wind

Edition 185_SimpsonSmithLrg

The Tasmanian economy looks set for an exciting wind ride following the announcement of four major new wind farm projects.

4 July 2017, Edition 185

$15m cost for energy price cap

Hydro Tasmania announced a plan in May to sacrifice up to $15 million in revenue in implementing a Government-mandated limit on power price rises for households and businesses. Under new legislation rises will not be allowed to exceed the consumer price index for 12 months – a rate of about 2 per cent. Energy issues in other States have driven up wholesale prices on the National Electricity Market and this was threatening substantial rises for 2,000 unregulated customers, who have short-term contracts. Hydro Tasmania’s Chief Executive, Steve Davy, said: “We’re forecast to make a modest profit … but our focus at the moment is energy security and sustainable prices for Tasmanians.” The Treasurer, Peter Gutwein, said Treasury would complete a review next year of options to untie the State from interstate wholesale prices. Meanwhile, a strong response has persuaded the Government to double funding for the Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme for households and small businesses to $20 million. The scheme enables borrowers to access three-year, interest-free loans of up to $10,000 to buy energy-efficient appliances.

6 June 2017, Edition 184

State poised to be ‘nation’s battery’

Edition 183_Turnbull and the Premier V2

Energy projects worth $3 billion will turn Tasmania into Australia’s battery in a vision unveiled by the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, in April.

1 May 2017, Edition 183

Entura secures solar contract

Tasmanian power and water consulting firm, Entura, has been appointed Owner’s Engineer for two solar farms in Queensland. Canadian Solar, one of the world’s largest solar companies, will undertake the projects at Longreach (17MW) and Oakey (30 MW) following part-funding by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Construction is expected to start this month and commercial generation to be achieved in the first quarter of 2018. As Owner’s Engineer, Entura will review designs, documentation, calculations and reports produced by the engineering, procurement and construction contractors to ensure they are fit for purpose and in accordance with Australian standards and regulations.

1 May 2017, Edition 183

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Tasmania's Stories Edition 191

Edition 191_Campus

Launceston taking the lead in the race to be Australia's "smartest city" is the top story in your first Tasmania's Stories newsletter of 2018.  I hope you find lots to interest you in your latest edition of Tasmania's Stories.

15 February 2018, Edition 191

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