Renewable energy pushed

ENVIRONMENTAL groups believe that Tasmania is not living up to its renewable energy potential.

In the wake of the broken Basslink cable and after a summer of only limited rainfall, stakeholders say that Tasmania is one of the best places in the world to harvest wind, hydro and solar energy.

Research done by the Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne has shown that Tasmania provided one of the best investment opportunities for wind generation in Australia. The initiative would provide thousands of jobs and a sound investment for the state, the groups said.

Environment Minister Matthew Groom said the government would look at diversifying its renewable generation portfolio in response to the Basslink outage with all options currently on the table.

"Tasmania is a world leader in producing renewable energy," Mr Groom said.

"About 90 per cent of the state's energy requirements are generated by renewables with wind turbines producing about 10 per cent."

River Power Tasmania operations manager Josh Tomlin and Tasmanian Renewable Energy Alliance executive officer Jack Gilding both said the state was not doing enough with the available resources.

"The Banks Strait between Tasmania and Flinders Island is one of the best tidal power locations in Australia and could support up to 300 megawatts of generation," Mr Gilding said.

"Our energy security is best assured by developing a range of renewable energy sources across the state, rather than relying just on large hydro or a single piece of infrastructure such as Basslink.

"We have ample opportunities for additional solar PV [photovoltaic systems] on homes and businesses, wind turbines on farms, and small to medium hydro projects on rivers without needing to build huge dams." Mr Tomlin said that for the future, small to medium-sized hydro projects could be the perfect fit for Tasmanian resources.

"Australia-wide, large-scale hydro is done and dusted," he said.

"For small-scale hydro, there is opportunity there . . . and a lot of opportunity is in existing infrastructure without too much investment. Renewables are the way forward, and a mix of renewables is really the safest way - solar, wind and hydro."

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