Bell Bay port, Tasmania.

TasPorts has announced it will be undertaking its own Market Sounding Exercise to better assess future growth potential as part of a push to increase renewable energy generation. 

The aim of the Market Sounding Exercise – to be run by Paxon Group on behalf of TasPorts – will be to identify parties associated with upcoming large-scale operations who are interested in using, operating in, or developing Port of Bell Bay facilities and to understand the development requirements along with the commercial opportunities and options arising from current demand.

TasPorts CEO, Anthony Donald, said the Market Sounding Exercise will inform the company’s understanding about the range of requirements for those projects including possible port-related developments and enabling options, infrastructure investments and leasing.

Mr Donald said Tasmania was fast approaching a pivotal point in the race to secure State-based renewables projects, and the port was ready to play its part.

“TasPorts is continuing to work with governments, government agencies and broader industry to support renewable energy options, driving momentum for the Port of Bell Bay as a key Renewables Energy Hub and offering multi-port user facilities,” Mr Donald said.

“The role of ports like Bell Bay are critical to the delivery of both renewable energy-generating projects like off-shore and on-shore wind farms and solar farms, and transitional industries and projects like hydrogen, alternative fuels, and the decommissioning of fossil-fuel assets.

“These projects will have unprecedented space and specific infrastructure requirements that we are confident can be met by a port like Bell Bay and its surrounding advanced manufacturing zone with appropriate development.

“The scarcity of supply relating to suitable ports, escalating demand, pressure for projects to lock in berth and landside areas ahead of their final investment decisions and increasing competition between the projects, investors and proponents has created a challenge that we are well-placed to meet.

“TasPorts will carefully consider the range of proposed projects and requirements in order to maximise the facilitation of trade for the benefit of Tasmania.

“We know there is increasing demand for port facilities and land suitable for receiving, storage, construction and operations and maintenance related to numerous planned large-scale projects.”

Mr Donald said TasPorts has already fielded multiple approaches from project proponents, investors, and others including those responsible for project logistics, and developers.

“They are keen to pursue lease, partnerships or a variety of infrastructure or port development investments particularly for the Port of Bell Bay,” Mr Donald said.

Mr Donald said with the exception of Bell Bay, the availability of seaports with the characteristics required for many of the known upcoming projects is currently limited on the eastern and south-eastern seaboards of mainland Australia and Tasmania.

“The Port of Bell Bay presents opportunities for land reclamation, new berth/facility development, existing berth redevelopment/optimisation, and limited port expansion.”

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