Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff has voiced concerns over spiralling costs associated with the Marinus Link undersea power cable project that will connect Tasmania to the mainland, saying it does not make sense at “any price”.
If constructed, the Marinus Link undersea electricity interconnector would allow Tasmania to fulfill its goal of becoming the ‘Battery of the Nation’, exporting electricity from its hydroelectric and other renewable assets to the mainland.
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Originally estimated to cost between $3.1 billion and $3.8 billion, a loan scheme will fund 80% of the project, with the remaining 20% split evenly between the Tasmania, Victoria and the Commonwealth.
Rockliff said the Tasmanian Government had since been advised of a “material and a significant increase for Marinus Link”, but would not cite a figure due to the ongoing tender process.
“For the right price, Marinus Link is an important project for Tasmania, it’ll help boost renewable energy development and support growth in business and industry,” Rockliff said.
“The right price, does not mean any price. There is a line in the sand that Tasmania cannot afford to cross and I will not be crossing it.”
Rockliff said he had written to both Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Energy Minister Chris Bowen with his concerns, and discussions about alternative funding were ongoing.
Tasmanian Energy Minister Guy Barnett also said other states should contribute to funding the project if they stood to benefit from it.
“If other states want this, they should pay for it, or the federal government should step up,” he said.
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Marinus Link CEO Bess Clark has previously said the project would increase network charges for the average Tasmanian by $40 a year, but lower energy prices by $100 per year.
At the time the funding agreement was made, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese guaranteed that Tasmanian power prices would be cheaper with Marinus Link.