Tasmania will double its output of renewable energy by 2040 under a new plan announced by the state government.
The draft renewable action plan was announced by Energy Minister Guy Barnett on Wednesday as a key initiative for the state as it moves to a post-COVID-19 economy.
Mr Barnett said the plan was a "visionary document" that would harness Tasmania's competitive advantage for renewables and transform the state into "Australia's renewable energy powerhouse."
The plan outlines the state government's goals for renewable energy and maps out the following:
- Tasmania will be the first state in Australia with 100 per cent renewable power generation by 2022
- A new ambitious renewables target of 200 per cent of our needs by 2040, which will see Tasmania double its renewable production
- From 2030 Tasmania will be a producer and exporter of renewable hydrogen
- As a key cornerstone of this objective, the government will continue to support and progress major national renewable energy projects such as Battery of the Nation and Project Marinus.
Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Bailey said the action plan was one of the state's most significant economic policy documents moving forward from the pandemic.
"We know that Australia is driving to be more renewable....so this is a very important strategy," he said.
"If this plan comes to fruition and we do generate 200 per cent renewable energy that will be hundreds of thousands of jobs for Tasmanians."
Mr Bailey said the flow-on effects of this plan would be huge, in terms of encouraging construction as well as providing incentives for new industries and companies in Tasmania.
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"And I am confident this will see manufacturing come back to Tasmania and Australia after the pandemic."
Mr Bailey said he also supported the plan's aim of establishing a green hydrogen industry in Tasmania and that he endorsed Bell Bay as the prime location for it.
"Hydrogen is really important for Tasmania, it's emerging as a critical new energy resource and Bell Bay is the right place for it."
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However, Green Energy Market director Tristan Edis said while the foundations of the plan were sound it did hinge on significant federal policy changes to phase out the use of coal power.
"The foundations of this plan are sound but the problem lies with federal government policy, without support for the Marinus Link from the Morrison Government this plan is dead in the water," he said.
Mr Edis said while the federal government had outlined a level of support for the Marinus Link it was still to be determined who would pay for the undersea interconnector, which has been estimated to cost between $1.3 and $1.7 million for a 600-megawatt cable.
Mr Barnett said discussions with the federal government on the Marinus Link project was ongoing but were progressing.
However, Mr Edis said the Marinus Link feasibility study pointed to the fact that it would not be economically viable unless there was a decommissioning of coal-power stations in Victoria.
Without legislation from the federal government to commit to decommissioning coal-power in favour of renewables, the Marinus Link would not be viable.
"We would be paying for a cable that we do not need," he said.
Mr Edis said Tasmania was in an enviable position for having the best wind resource in Australia, possibly the world, but to capitalise on that the federal government did need to be on board.
In Tasmania, the plan was welcomed by stakeholders and industry groups, with many describing it as a bold step forward for the state.
The draft plan is inviting public comment and can be found online.