The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Energy sector:
Situated at the mouth of the Tamar River, Low Head could soon be Tasmania’s renewable energy capital after George Town Council unanimously approved a 12-hectare solar farm in the area. The solar farm will be built on land adjacent to the George Town airport. The 12.5-megawatt facility, with 16,000 solar panels, would provide power for up to 2,000 homes and is being developed by Epuron Solar. In February, Council also granted Epuron an extension to its Low Head Wind Farm approving 10 new turbines. Epuron Project Manager Shane Bartel told The Examiner that Low Head is an ideal location for renewable because it has plenty of sun and wind. Also proximity to the George Town Sub Station was a big plus, he added: “It provides greater efficiency for generation when located close to the substation.” Meantime Mayor Bridget Archer said the region would embrace being the “renewable energy capital of Tasmania” and was open to more future developments. Epuron is also hoping to develop a larger solar farm at Wesley Vale which could provide power for some 3,000 homes and contain about 40,000 panels. This development is currently being considered by Latrobe Council.
3 May 2018, Edition 194
A new wind farm has been proposed near Stanley in the wake of a decision by State and Federal governments to jointly fund a $20 million business case study into a second Bass Strait electricity inter-connector. The second cable will be needed for the $5 billion Battery of the Nation concept proposed for Tasmania by the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. Because of changing economics, private investors had announced new wind-energy projects at Wild Cattle Hill, Granville Harbour, Robbins Island/Jims Plain and Low Head before the Stanley project emerged in January. Sydney-based Epuron Projects is proposing up to 13 turbines on a cattle farm on the Stanley Peninsula, about 4k from the town. “The site is an exceptionally windy location in what is probably Australia’s windiest State,” Project Manager, Shane Bartel, said in material circulated to local residents. The project has potential for the highest energy yield per turbine in Australia and will connect to the Port Latta sub-station to supply renewable power to the National Electricity Market.” Mr Bartel said Epuron intended to “progress” a development application with the Circular Head Council in late 2018 and hoped to commence construction in 2019.
8 March 2018, Edition 192
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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