Tasmania has an arguably envious position when it comes to the transition to renewable energy sources.
Ahead of the curve in many ways, the 1914 Tasmanian government bought a small electricity company and created the Hydro-Electric Department. The first power station fuelled by hydropower at Waddamana was opened in 1916.
That decision has always left Tasmania one step ahead of other states and countries with regards to renewable power and paved the way for the establishment of the first trans-Bass Strait power cable Basslink.
On Wednesday, in a state that is economically recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, Energy Minister Guy Barnett announced the next phase in Tasmania's plan to become entirely self-sufficient and powered entirely by renewable energy sources. The plan includes a lofty goal of increasing the output by 2040 and increasing our renewable energy output to 200 per cent. The goal of increasing the power generation is to supply the mainland with Tasmanian-brand "clean, green and pure power" but the project hinges on the establishment of the second undersea cable.
The Marinus Link will be required if Tasmania is going to up its energy production, to provide a vital mix of renewable energy to other states. However, despite a feasibility study being completed and announcements made by the Morrison Government during the election campaign, the Marinus Link is no closer to becoming a reality.
The renewable energy action plan is a bold one, and it takes Tasmania down the path to self-sufficiency but what is important is making sure these projects remain viable and there is enough demand.
Despite this, the Tasmanian Renewable Energy Plan remains a good choice for the state to take a bold step forward and realise its goal of becoming self-sufficient by 2022.
Climate change has emerged as a significant issue for many ratepayers and the plan is a reflection of that change in attitudes, as well as taking advantage of the shift in the energy market. But what is truly needed is a clear commitment from all involved to make sure this goal can be achieved.