TasNetworks has tweaked the preferred route for a controversial electricity transmission line after running into community opposition.
Concerns were raised about an initial proposed route which the state-owned company released for consultation in late 2019
The concerns related to matters including property values, visual amenity of areas including the Leven Canyon and species habitat.
The project is needed for the Battery of the Nation and Marinus Link plans which aim to increase Tasmania’s production and export of renewable energy via new undersea cables to Victoria.
“The preferred route now traverses more kilometres of commercial forestry land than the initial proposed route that TasNetworks consulted on in late 2019 and early 2020,” chief executive Lance Balcombe said.
“This means less impact on directly affected small private landowners, with the overwhelming proportion of the preferred route passing through commercial forestry estate and Crown Land.”
TasNetworks said it had chosen the preferred route after considering feedback from landowners and the community.
This means less impact on directly affected small private landowners …
Mr Balcombe said the proposed transmission development was needed “to unlock Tasmania’s abundant renewable energy and storage resources and provide further electricity and telecommunications connection with mainland Australia”.
“The development would also be part of supporting the significant jobs, skills and investment opportunity in Tasmania from the development of Marinus Link, the Battery of the Nation pumped hydro and the state’s world class wind resources,” he said.
“Together, these renewable energy projects will create thousands of jobs, many of which will be in North-West Tasmania.”
He said work on the Staverton to Hampshire Hills line was part of critical early works needed to support Marinus Link and TasNetworks’ North-West Tasmania Strategic Transmission Plan.
“These projects will deliver low-cost, reliable and clean energy for Tasmania and the broader National Electricity Market as part of Australia’s energy transition.” he said.
“We are listening to community and landowner feedback and remain committed to communicating in a transparent, respectful and timely manner in context of COVID-19, and to working with the community to realise the benefits this project can bring.”
TasNetworks said the final route and location of the supporting infrastructure would be “further defined” as the design and approvals processes made progresses.
It said the project would be considered for approval under relevant federal and state environmental, land use planning and cultural heritage assessment frameworks.
The Australian Energy Market Operator last week confirmed Marinus and the transmission developments as “critical” for the nation’s future energy needs, while the federal government aims to fast track Marinus.