Tasmania could supply an extra 400 megawatts of power to mainland Australia if a second interconnector, like Basslink, was built.
Hydro Tasmania’s chief executive Steve Davy said better interconnection to mainland Australia would enable Tasmania to contribute further to national power capacity – and the organisation had 14 more projects that could see this supply build further.
“There’s 400 megawatts of capacity here in Tasmania that could be unleashed, with further potential,” Mr Davy said.
“Victoria’s demand peaks in summer and, during summer, demand in Tasmania is low, so that excess hydro capacity in Tasmania is the first thing that would get utilised if there was more interconnection.”
Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said a feasibility study for a second connection was underway already.
“We’re doing the work right now on making sure, that if the interconnection between here and the mainland is what is needed, [we can] make the most of that,” Mr Taylor said.
“That is a very important part of making sure we realise the potential of Tasmania’s energy sector.”
While at Poatina Power Station on Thursday, Mr Taylor announced the federal government was opening expressions of interest for the Underwriting New Generation Investments program, and suggested Hydro Tasmania should apply.
“[Projects have] to be 24/7, reliable, affordable power; power that means when you flick the switch on it goes. Hydro is one extremely good means of doing that,” he said.
“We’re standing here with Tas Hydro and they’ve got some pretty interesting opportunities here. We would very much like Tasmania, and Hydro Tasmania, to be involved in this process.”
One of the 14 projects Hydro Tasmania is investigating is a new power station at Poatina that would generate up to 600 megawatts.
“Tasmania has enormous potential to provide that 24/7, reliable, affordable power that Australia needs,” Mr Taylor said.
Expressions of interest are open until mid January 2019, with projects then shortlisted and the best selected to start work.
Premier Will Hodgman said projects like the new hydro power station proposed for Poatina would help establish the state as a leader in renewable energy and “the nation’s renewable energy battery”.
“Our plan for Tasmania’s energy sector is not only to be the nation’s battery and to export what is a valuable commodity into the market, and increase our revenue base for our state and to continue our strong economic growth, but to make sure we keep power prices down to keep Tasmania’s energy system secure and reliable and position Tasmania with that great competitive advantage,” Mr Hodgman said.
“This is once-in-a-generation stuff.
“We will continue to make a very strong case for a second interconnector,” he said.