The renewable energy sector is attracting a lot of interest right now. The Australian Energy Market Operator has announced that Project Marinus will be a key piece of energy infrastructure needed for the National Electricity Market from 2028/29.
This follows Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement in June that Marinus is one of 15 major priority projects in Australia to be progressed. It seems clear that mainland Australia would benefit from access to Tasmania’s renewable energy. Tasmania has a proud history of expertise and innovation in renewable energy through Hydro Tasmania, whose expertise is drawn on internationally. We have skilled professionals who work in energy intensive industries. The draft Tasmanian Renewable Energy Action Plan proposes to build on these strengths. Project Marinus is a key enabler.
Renewable energy will deliver jobs in regional Tasmania. First there will be construction jobs as Battery of the Nation and Project Marinus infrastructure is built. Then there will be opportunities for new, innovative industries. Green hydrogen is just one of the new potential industries we will see.
RDA Tasmania chairwoman Professor Sue Kilpatrick notes in the recently released RDA Tasmania Report: “The Future for Renewable Energy – Opportunities for Tasmania that “now is the time for thinking about investment opportunities and education and training that will set Tasmania up to take advantage of not only the initial infrastructure construction boom, but ongoing businesses and jobs. Investment and education and training have a lead time before businesses are operating and skills developed “.
The recent announcement by AEMO is crucial for Tasmania as it provides a timeline for all key stakeholders from government, industry and community to aim towards. It provides the opportunity for planning, assessment and approval, and critically the timeframe for skills and training to be developed so Tasmanian’s can take advantage of this opportunity.
Government support for Project Marinus is the first step in this process and whilst there will be scrutiny about its viability, cost and who will invest and fund the project, Tasmania has the opportunity to leverage the investment to unlock other opportunities for Tasmania that directly or indirectly rely on renewable energy.
As the Australian and Tasmanian Governments are navigating a post COVID-19 path forward, and renewable energy projects for Tasmania, including Project Marinus, tick a number of boxes including: employment outcomes, skill development, infrastructure upgrades, investment attraction and long term sustainability and resilience for Tasmania’s regional communities.
To download a copy of the “The Future for Renewable Energy Opportunities for Tasmania” go to rdatasmania.org.au.
- Craig Perkins, chief executive of Regional Development Australia, Tasmania.
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