After nine long years a development application has finally been lodged for a wind farm at Low Head.
When added to the proposed $270-million wind farm at Granville Harbour on the West Coast, and the state’s existing hydro energy, it seems Tasmania has an opportunity to lead Australia in renewable energy production.
The Low Head wind farm was first proposed around 2008, but was put on hold following the election of Tony Abbott as prime minister due to the uncertainty of energy policy under his government.
This highlights the importance of policies that can support the development of renewables – which could increasingly place Tasmania in a favourable position to supply energy to our mainland counterparts.
The fact it has taken this long, almost a decade, for the project to get to this point demonstrates how influential governments are, and the direct and indirect impact they can have on the state’s economy and vitality.
The proposed wind farm at Low Head is worth $50-60 million, a significant investment (by private investors) into the Northern Tasmanian economy.
With Malcolm Turnbull adopting the “sensible centre” for his policies it looks like this investment is back on the cards, and Northern Tasmanians will be the ones to benefit.
In 2014 the developers said the project would create 30 to 50 jobs during the initial building phase, with five to 10 ongoing positions following after construction – jobs Tasmania could desperately use.
While much song and dance is made of South Australia’s recent renewable energy stance, Tasmania has been running largely on renewable energy for years.
Since the early 1900s Tasmania has led the way by investing in hydro power across the state, which has ensured Tasmania’s leading place in the renewable energy scoreboard.
With the recent release of the Finkel Report, Tasmania has a real opportunity to shine and once again lead the nation in energy opportunities.
As Energy Minister Matthew Groom said, “The Finkel Review recommendations include significant advantages for further renewable development in Tasmania.”
A poll by The Examiner in November, 2016 showed 77 per cent of voters supported the idea of a wind farm at Low Head.
It seems the tide is indeed turning in favour of renewables.