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The Marinus Link cable between Tasmania and Victoria has been listed as one of 15 projects to be fast-tracked under the Federal Government’s five-year JobMaker scheme.

Project Marinus, an essential component of Hydro Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation plan to increase hydro-generated electricity to the mainland, is currently estimated to be in service by 2027, however this timeline could be significantly expedited under the JobMaker scheme that aims to cut Commonwealth assessment and approval times by 50 per cent.

Prime Minister Scott Morrision said at CEDA’s State of the Nation Conference that the decision would support over 66,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“Under our new approach, this investment, and most importantly these jobs, will be brought to market earlier by targeting a 50 per cent reduction in Commonwealth assessment and approval times for major projects, from an average of 3.5 years to 21 months,” the Prime Minister said.

Tasmanian Minister for Energy, Guy Barnett, said, “It’s important to note that the project will still undergo extensive environmental assessment and checks, but this announcement ensures this due diligence can happen far sooner, helping our nation rebuild and recover.

“With Tasmania set to double our already significant renewable energy production thanks to our Marinus Link and Battery of the Nation projects, and renewable hydrogen industry growth plans, we are perfectly placed to supply Australia with the energy reliability and security it needs, while injecting billions into our economy and creating thousands of Tasmanian jobs, many in regional areas.”

Prime Minister Morrison said the projects will be worth $72 billion in total.

In December 2019, TasNetworks’ released the findings of a feasibility study which found that a second interconnector was feasible at 1500MW capacity.

Currently, the existing Tasmania-Victoria interconnector Basslink can only export 50MW, but the business case showed that the optimal capacity of the new Marinus Link would be 1500MW, built in two separate HVDC cables of 750MW each. The proposed route would run from north west Tasmania near Burnie to the Latrobe Valley in Victoria.

The Prime Minister said the energy industry, as well as infrastructure and agriculture, were all essential in getting people back to work, and that early examples under the JobMaker approach were already showing positive results.

Successful deregulation has increased competition and economic efficiency, raising productivity and, ultimately supporting jobs and wages,” the Prime Minister said. 

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton, said that the green light for Marinus Link was a positive step for Australia’s low emissions future and would be critical to bringing forward renewable energy projects across Tasmania and southern Australia and in turn drive down power prices for all Australians.

“Marinus Link will allow Tasmania to export its considerable pumped hydro and wind energy resources to the National Electricity Market (NEM), and open up further investment opportunities in renewables in the process,” Mr Thornton said.

“The Clean Energy Council is pleased to see the government prioritising this critical infrastructure project and accelerate a clean recovery.

“Australia is transitioning to a more flexible, low cost and clean energy system. Renewable energy development goes hand in hand with investment in transmission and energy storage. These are long-term projects that will provide steady, secure and value-adding employment in Australia.”

To read the full address given by the Prime Minister, click here.

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