The Tasmanian government has nominated the Battery of the Nation initiative for Infrastructure Australia’s Priority List.
Infrastructure Australia is updating the Infrastructure Priority List (IPL), which is a prioritised list of nationally significant investments, with the next edition to be published in February 2018.
As part of the update, Infrastructure Australia has called on Australian governments and non-government bodies to identify infrastructure problems and opportunities of national significance.
Battery of the Nation would double Tasmania’s renewable energy capacity from 2500MW to about 5000MW, through a combination of pumped hydro storage development, private wind power development, and boosting the efficiency of existing hydropower assets.
As well as doubling capacity over a 10 to15-year period, it could create up to $5 billion of infrastructure investment and up to 3000 jobs in regional Tasmania.
Tasmania has major wind and pumped hydro advantages – including its existing large-scale hydropower system.
The Battery of the Nation initiative would largely build on existing assets, completely avoid the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA), and be developed to the highest environmental and social standards.
The Tasmanian government’s nomination to Infrastructure Australia highlights the importance of more interconnection with mainland Australia, in order to realise Tasmania’s renewable potential and unlock further on-island wind investment.
As part of its Battery of the Nation work, Hydro Tasmania is modelling the potential for, and benefits of, more Bass Strait interconnection.
However, the business itself is not a realistic proponent of further interconnection.
Hydro Tasmania CEO Steve Davy said Tasmania is uniquely placed to help lead Australia through its challenging energy transition.
“The Battery of the Nation is about locking in Tasmanian energy security and giving Tasmanians the lowest possible power prices,” Mr Davy said.
“As a bonus, it would give us plenty of spare, storable energy to support mainland Australia as it transitions to a clean and reliable energy future.
“Battery of the Nation is already receiving strong support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and is worthy of close consideration by Infrastructure Australia,” he said.
ARENA has committed up to $2.5 million for Battery of the Nation project studies, with funding to be matched by Hydro Tasmania