May 30, 2024

Tasmania Launches  Consultations for First NW Renewable Energy Zone

The Tasmanian government has initiated a consultation period for the proposed North West Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), aiming to significantly boost the region's renewable energy capacity. This REZ is designed to facilitate the development of new renewable energy projects.

Tasmania's NW Set to Become Renewable Energy Hub

The proposed North West Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) is set to be established south of Burnie, covering an area of 114,000 hectares. This REZ will span parts of four local government areas: Waratah-Wynyard, Burnie, Kentish, and Central Coast. The zone is strategically positioned to support Tasmania's renewable energy goals and is also expected to host the connection point for the Marinus Link, a proposed 1,500 MW capacity undersea and underground electricity transmission interconnector between Tasmania and Victoria.

State-owned utility TasNetworks has highlighted that the North West Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) has been identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) as a high-priority area for renewable energy development. The region is noted for its "excellent potential for developing renewable generation, storage, and dispatchable ‘on demand’ energy projects," including large-scale wind, pumped hydro, and energy storage developments.

Proposed REZ to Enable 1 GW of Renewable Projects

The Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) is expected to enable at least 1 GW of additional renewable energy projects, encompassing solar, wind, hydrogen, and energy storage. This development is part of Tasmania's broader strategy to enhance its renewable energy infrastructure, support economic growth, and contribute to Australia’s renewable energy targets.

Tasmanian Energy Minister Nick Duigan stated that the location of the proposed North West Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) is the culmination of 18 months of thorough analysis and engagement with communities and industry stakeholders. This extensive period of study and consultation underscores the careful planning and collaborative effort involved in identifying the most suitable area for the REZ.

The Minister emphasized the advantages of the northwest region, stating, “The northwest has world-class wind resources along with the space and infrastructure for renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar farms.” He also noted that the consultation period is the next step in delivering the Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), which is a key part of the state’s clean energy future.

Since 2020, Tasmania has successfully fulfilled 100% of its electricity requirements using renewable energy sources. However, the state's electricity demand continues to rise. The renewable energy zone will bring the Apple Isle one step closer to achieving its legislated goal of being 200% powered by renewables by 2040.

Renewable Energy Zone to Boost Local Economy and Jobs

As part of the creation of the North West REZ, the Tasmanian government will collaborate with TasNetworks to advance the development of new transmission infrastructure between Burnie and Hampshire Hills. The proposed works include upgrades to existing transmission lines, the construction of new transmission lines, and the establishment of new electrical substations. This development is also anticipated to drive significant economic growth through job creation and increased investment in the region.

“This will ensure we can meet demand, while also bringing to the state new jobs and economic opportunities,” stated Tasmanian Energy Minister Nick Duigan.

The government stated that the consultation on the proposed project and associated community benefits scheme will take place over the next six weeks, the initiative will be implemented during this period, and a market offering for interested parties will be introduced after that.

The launch of consultations for the Renewable Energy Zone marks a significant milestone in the state's journey towards a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. With ambitious goals to boost renewable energy capacity, create new economic opportunities, and meet growing energy demands, this initiative underscores Tasmania's commitment to leading the way in renewable energy innovation, driving positive environmental and economic outcomes for generations to come.

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