Tasmania powering the nation

Australia’s energy market is rapidly changing. Coal generation is retiring, and new sources of renewable energy like wind and solar are becoming more plentiful. But these new sources are variable, which simply means the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine.

Tasmania is a pioneer in renewable energy… our hydropower system has been powering the state for over a century. Tasmania is now poised to play a much greater role in Australia’s energy supply.

We can harness the state’s vast renewable energy potential, which includes existing hydropower, new pumped hydro and our unmatched wind resources. Together, these resources would generate more than enough energy for our state. This means that we can export our surplus clean, reliable and affordable energy to support mainland Australia’s transition to renewables and help power the energy system of the future.

Further interconnection between Tasmania and Victoria is critical to unlocking these renewable energy investment opportunities.

Marinus Link and supporting North West Tasmania Transmission Developments

Marinus Link is a proposed 1500 megawatt capacity undersea and underground electricity connection to link North West Tasmania to Victoria. Marinus Link will be supported by proposed transmission network developments in North West Tasmania.

TasNetworks completed a positive feasibility and business case assessment for Marinus Link and the supporting North West Tasmania transmission developments in December 2019. This work was supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Tasmanian Government.

Marinus Link and the supporting North West Tasmania transmission developments can help Australia’s transition to a low emissions future. Together, they unlock Tasmania’s clean, cost-competitive energy generation and storage resources, providing dispatchable (on-demand) energy to the National Electricity Market (NEM) when it’s needed.

Marinus Link will operate in addition to the existing privately-owned Basslink undersea interconnector across Bass Strait.

TasNetworks is the Tasmanian jurisdictional planner in the NEM. It owns, operates and maintains the electricity transmission and distribution network in Tasmania to deliver a safe, cost-effective and reliable electricity supply to more than 285,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers.

Battery of the Nation

Hydro Tasmania is leading work to investigate future development opportunities in hydropower system expansion including pumped hydro energy storage. Significant potential has been identified for development of new, low-cost, long-duration pumped hydro, as well as unlocking latent hydro capacity and optimising the existing hydropower system.

Hydro Tasmania has been assessing the potential of our three top priority pumped hydro opportunities at Lake Cethana and Lake Rowallan in the North West and near Tribute Power Station on the West Coast.

Following an early feasibility assessment across all three sites on a range of technical, environmental, social, and financial criteria, Hydro Tasmania has announced that Lake Cethana is its preferred site that will now progress to final feasibility assessment.

A feasibility study has been completed into reimagining the Tarraleah hydropower scheme for a future energy market. Hydro Tasmania is now finalising its preferred asset management strategy for the scheme’s future.

Hydro Tasmania has also completed extensive analysis of the future energy market and Tasmania’s role, and produced a range of discussion papers.

Hydro Tasmania is Australia’s leading clean energy business, largest producer of renewable energy, and largest water manager.

Renewable Energy Zones

The vast renewable energy potential in Tasmania’s North West has been recognised by Australia’s energy market operator. AEMO identified the North West area (which includes the Cradle Coast) as a potential future Renewable Energy Zone, or “REZ”.

The REZ currently has a generation capacity of 550 megawatts (MW) from hydro, 150 MW from solar and 5000 MW from wind. The wind resource quality has been rated “A” (greater than 45% average capacity factor) and there’s an estimated potential wind generation capacity of 5000 MW.

As with other REZs around Australia, unlocking this energy resource will require increasing the network’s transmission capacity.

Tasmania energy resources

Would you like to know more about the work at AEMO is doing on future market planning? You can find the AEMO 2020 Integrated System Plan here.

Tasmanian energy fast facts

  • Tasmania is on track to become 100% self-sufficient in renewables by 2022
  • Tasmania now has a new renewable energy target – 200% of current needs by 2040
  • Tasmania is in the path of the Roaring Forties, winds that blow at consistently high wind speeds and are a fantastic wind resource!