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Energy stories

The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Energy sector:

Grants for bioenergy, biomass

Bioenergy and biomass were the focus of 13 grants of up to $100,000 announced in October under the $1.25 million Wood and Fibre Processing Innovation Program. The Meander Valley Council, Dorset Renewable Industries and Norske Skog were among organisations to benefit. Meander Valley Council’s Craig Perkins said the $100,000 grant would help fund a $375,000 feasibility study into bioenergy production. Partly financed by council, the study would look at how such local businesses as Tasmanian Alkaloids could utilise bioenergy – leading to private investment opportunities. Dorset Renewable Industries will use its $100,000 to further develop a wood pellet plant project, while Norske Skog will use its grant of the same amount to help in building a residue-processing plant at Boyer. Other grant recipients were: Mondelez Australia; Pentarch Forest Products; East Tamar Maintenance Services; Wood Pellets Tasmania; Huon Valley Timber; ARTEC Australia; and Botanical Resources Australia.

3 November 2016, Tasmania’s Stories Edition 177

Huonville makes global schools final

Huonville High School is in the running to win $US 100,000 after becoming the only Australian finalist in an international competition on renewable energy and sustainability innovation. The school is one of only 14 from around the world to reach the finals of the Global High Schools Zayed Future Energy Prize, which aims to inspire future generations “to be responsible, sustainable citizens”. Students from Huonville designed a range of sustainable solutions for their school, including a windmill, pellet mill, bio-digester and a bicycle-powered mobile cinema. Coordinator Nel Smit said: “It is huge; a little school in country Tasmania has been awarded this international recognition for their initiatives in renewable energy and innovation. It just provides an example of what a very small school can do with … some innovation and leadership.”

3 November 2016, Tasmania’s Stories Edition 177

Rain boosts Hydro, bogs farmers

Edition_177_Lake Gordon ... strong recovery from record low

Spring rain lifted Hydro Tasmania’s storage levels to beyond 45 per cent for the first time in almost three years, but the wet weather seriously disrupted agriculture and threatens vegetable and poppy shortages.

1 November 2016, Tasmania’s Stories Edition 177

Wind/solar for desert town

Hydro Tasmania has secured an $18.4 million grant to fund a project to introduce renewable energy to the remote South Australian opal-mining town of Cooper Pedy. The community of 3,500 relies on diesel generators for energy and Hydro Tasmania will use methods developed on King Island to supply 70 per cent of energy consumption through solar and wind generation. The project has been funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The CEO of Hydro Tasmania, Steve Davy, said: “We’re going to see world-leading Tasmanian innovation and technology used to transform a remote town in the Australian desert into a renewable-energy oasis. Only Hydro Tasmania has demonstrated that unique ability at megawatt scale. Australia and the world are increasingly taking notice.”

5 July 2016, Tasmania’s Stories Edition 173

Tasmania powers up again

Edition 173_ Water spills from a Hydro Tasmania dam_Image courtesy of the ABC.

The BassLink undersea cable that enables electricity to be traded across Bass Strait was returned to service on 12 June, ending Tasmania’s prolonged and expensive energy crisis.

5 July 2016, Tasmania’s Stories Edition 173

Solar offer to Bruny residents

Bruny Island residents will have the chance to install solar panels and sell power back into the grid for about $1 a kilowatt hour, compared with the 5.5 cent a kilowatt hour being offered in the rest of Tasmania. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will provide $2.9 million to help fund solar panels and batteries for up to 40 households on the island as part of a three-year, $2.9 million national project. Dean Spaccavento from Reposit Power, which created the software that underpins the proposed system, said: “The reason Bruny Island was chosen was because of the constraints they have from their undersea cables. A battery with a solar panel can be converted into a remarkable power station. It’s fast and can both produce and consume power in an instant. It’s the type of power station the future needs.” TasNetworks will be seeking expressions of interest at public forums on the island.

4 May 2016, Edition 171

Study underway on 2nd power cable

Former Liberal Party Minister, Warwick Smith, will head up a feasibility study into a $1 billion second Bass Strait undersea power cable, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the Premier, Will Hodgman, announced in late April. The study will involve the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Energy Market Operator. The move was announced as Tasmania battled an energy crisis due to a fault in the existing BassLink cable and low rainfall. Mr Smith’s study will incorporate existing work by a Hydro Tasmania/State Government team. Mr Turnbull said a second cable would also open up the possibility of increased renewable developments and increased energy trading. “The combination of hydro power, which is dispatchable at any time, and wind would enable Tasmania to deliver … right across the nation,” Mr Turnbull said. “This has the potential of being a very big, significant economic investment and economic opportunity for Tasmania.” A preliminary report is expected next month. The Chairman of the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Industry Development Board, Peter Rae, said a major study in 2011 found the proposal was technically feasible and, with Commonwealth funding, could be finished within five years.

4 May 2016, Edition 171

Second power link on agenda

A second inter-connector cable across Bass Strait will be on the agenda when the Premier, Will Hodgman, meets the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, this month. Following December’s BassLink outage, the Minister for Energy, Matthew Groom, told State Parliament: “The Tasmanian Government remains committed to pursuing the case for a second Basslink inter-connector, but it must be recognised as national infrastructure, and Tasmania must not be left to foot the bill. Making the case … will be hard and it must be recognised as a longer-term project.” The issue was raised at a Council of Australian Governments meeting on 1 April. Meanwhile, BassLink has pinpointed damage to the existing cable at 90.467km from the Tasmanian coastline and its repair ship Ile de Re has returned to the site. The company now predicts a return to service date in June. Disappointing recent rainfall saw Hydro Tasmania’s storage levels fall to 13.6 per cent on 11 April. Temporary diesel generation is being phased in under the State’s Energy Supply Plan and a Trent gas-generator refurbished in Dubai has been reinstalled and switched on at Bell Bay.

5 April 2016, Tasmania’s Stories Edition 170

Fire and floods stress farmers, Hydro

Edition 168 A charred highland landscape in Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area. Image by Dan Broun, courtesy of the ABC

Erratic weather, with fires and floods at the same time, imposed stress on emergency workers, farmers, travellers and Hydro Tasmania in January.

1 February 2016, Edition 168

$40m data centre for Hobart

Tasmania’s cool climate has convinced investors from Western Australia to build a $40 million data centre in Hobart. Perth-based Red Cloud announced plans in October to build the centre by the middle of next year. Red Cloud’s Chief Executive, Carl Woodbridge, said: “Computers exhaust a lot of heat and one of the highest operating costs for a data centre is power – not just in the power that’s consumed by working computers but in the power needed to cool computers. One of the advantages in siting data centres in areas of low temperature is that you can capitalise on what’s known as free air cooling, so we will consume a lot less power having a data centre in Tasmania than we would on the mainland.” The centre will enable faster development of new software applications and provide local businesses with unprecedented levels of data storage. It will create 17 direct jobs.

3 November 2015, Edition 166

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