The Tasmanian Government has released the Energy Security Taskforce Report which makes a number of recommendations for Tasmania’s energy future.
When it comes to Tasmania’s electricity supply, the report confirms that Tasmania’s energy security position is very sound with high water storages, a fully-operational Basslink, and the Tamar Valley Power Station (TVPS) available to run as and when required.
The report makes a number of important recommendations including that Tasmania adopts an energy security framework that reflects the successful and practical Energy Supply Plan the Government implemented during the energy challenges experienced in 2016.
The Government supports or provides in-principle support for all 36 of the recommendations contained in the report.
A number of the key recommendations have either already been implemented or are at an advanced stage of implementation consistent with the timeline set out in the report.
The Government will continue with the work necessary to fully implement all recommendations as soon as possible.
The Government and Hydro Tasmania have already restored the prudent water storage levels back to the levels they were prior to being cut. Dam storage levels are currently at 39 per cent which is significantly above the prudent management level for the same time in 2016.
The Government has also taken significant steps towards Tasmania becoming 100 per cent renewable energy self reliant. Recently the State Government has announced more than $600 million of new wind farm development. These developments alone will deliver approximately 800GWh per annum of the 700-1000GWh of further on island renewable generation recommended by the taskforce.
On the issue of gas, the report acknowledges the importance of securing a fair outcome on gas transportation in order to provide greater certainty for Tasmanian gas users. Following the finalisation of the report there have been a number of significant developments on gas which have provided greater certainty for gas users. In particular, the Tasmanian Government has successfully secured the early implementation of a new national arbitration framework that will ensure gas transportation certainty from January 2018 onwards.
In combination, the Tasmanian Government’s actions have helped ensure that Tasmania’s energy security position continues to be sound, especially when compared to the significant uncertainty being experienced in the national market. In addition, the Government’s direct actions have ensured that Tasmanian electricity prices continue to be amongst the lowest in the country.
The recommendations are divided into five priority action areas:
- Defining energy security and responsibilities
- Strengthen independent energy security monitoring and assessment
- Establish a more rigorous and more widely understood framework for the management of water storages
- Retain the TVPS as backup power station and provide clarity to the Tasmanian gas market
- Support new on island generation and customer innovation