Tasmania has finally captured the nation’s attention.
No, it’s not because of our beautiful scenery, or our wonderful produce – it’s not even because of our slowly building alcoholic beverages industry.
It’s for our power.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared Tasmania as the potential “battery” of the nation and announced a significant investment in pumped hydro for the state.
Two big pumped hydro storage projects involving the Mersey-Forth scheme and one each at the Great Lake and Lake Burbury would be examined.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Premier Will Hodgman revealed the plans on Thursday, plus an alternative of nine smaller projects.
The expansion would improve Tasmania’s hydro power capacity, with the potential to provide enough energy to power half a million homes.
The expansion could cost up to $3 million and could lead to a second Basslink cable to send power back to the mainland.
A second interconnector cable to the mainland has been proposed, with supporters arguing it would underpin wind farm expansion. A study into the proposed second cable by John Tamblyn was released on Thursday.
Hydro has been powering Tasmania for the past 100 years, it’s about time the rest of the country caught on.
In a world where climate change is rearing its ugly head so high that it can no longer be ignored, renewable energy is going to become more and more important into the future.
Australia could learn more from its smallest state, which has been flourishing under hydro schemes for decades.
Granted, unprecedented weather conditions did cause an energy crisis last year but more investment into the storage and capacity of our hydro could help to mitigate any future crises.
With enough power for half a million homes, the expanded schemes should give us more than enough to keep the lights on in Tassie.
In addition it will give the state an economic boost, to allow us to send excess power back to the mainland via one or two Basslink cables.
However, renewable forms of energy need to be investigated properly for Tasmania, we can’t afford to put all of our eggs in one basket.