Tasmania's Energy Future

Tasmania's Energy Future

Not all wind is good! Robbins Island proposal comes with a heap of problems - Post from Leanne Minshull

Tasmania can benefit from the global transition to renewable energy - but it has to be of benefit to Tasmanians! The Robbins Island wind project is dividing the community in the North West. A few landholders will make millions from the deal (nothing wrong with that) but many others will suffer from it. Transmission lines will go through prime agricultural land where farmers have had sections of thier land compulsorily acquired from the Government. Fisherman report there will be an impact on thier businesses. Locals have expressed concern about visual amenity. Bird Life International has identified the site as an important bird area and are concerned about the impact on particular species. 

I remain concerned that in the rush to more renewable energy - nobody is gauranteeing Tasmanians will not subsidise it through higher power prices. I am calling for a 10 year price cap on Tasmanian energy prices before there is any more investment in infrastructure to support windfarms or transmission lines. 

I have made a submission to the Circular Head Council requesting further investigation be undertaken on the Robbins Island project with respect to the economic and social impacts not covered in the development application. You can read it here

Tasmania’s historic investment in Hydro generation should mean that Tasmanian consumers and businesses are enjoying low power prices and higher than average energy security

But we aren’t.

And now we’re being told that Marinus (or Basslink 2) will provide the regional prosperity, energy security, jobs and lower electricity prices that Hydro and Basslink were supposed to deliver a generation ago.

Some politicians and investors are pushing hard to make Tasmania the battery of the nation. They are telling us that there will be a jobs bonanza and that Tasmania will play an important part in the national renewable energy transition.

But for Tasmanians there is:

  • no plan for how or where we will use the extra energy produced in Tasmania 
  • no clarity on who will pay for Marinus link (the pipe needed to get the energy over to the mainland)
  • no analysis of how it will reduce our power bills
  • no guarantee the mainland will even want to purchase the power

Building extra renewable energy generation could be a good thing for Tasmania and Australia. But we first need a plan on where and how extra capacity is built. The majority of the proposed new generation comes from wind farms. Many of the proposals are opposed by the local communities, could have high environmental impacts, and require miles of transmission lines that cut swathes through prime agricultural land. It is almost as if the Government has prioritised returns to the wind farm companies above the needs of ordinary Tasmanians

We need a plan on how to use the excess electricity – is sending it to the mainland the best option for us? Or should we be using it for on island manufacturing and producing green hydrogen? Could we install super-fast electrical vehicle charging stations across the state and then subsidise electric vehicles for all Tasmanians?

Without a plan the only group certain to make money are the businesses building the wind farms – they won’t invest until we enter into contracts to buy their electricity (even if we don't need it)

At the Local Network - we want to help the community figure out and propose their own plan, one that makes energy security for Tasmanians, environmental and community concerns the priority

The Local Network is planning an energy workshop for the North West in late August 2021.

 Please send us an email (CLICK HERE) if you would like to be involved.