Hydro Tasmania has described the latest economic analysis of the impact of the $2 billion TasWind project on King Island as disappointing, optimistic and inaccurate.
Announced late last year, TasWind is a concept to develop a 200-turbine wind farm in suitable areas of King Island, as well as a high-voltage underwater cable across Bass Strait to connect the wind farm to the National Electricity Market. The wind farm could generate enough renewable energy to power up to 240,000 homes.
Hydro Tasmania chief executive officer Roy Adair said while the company welcomed informed contributions about wind farm development on King Island, it was concerned the report portrayed TasWind as bad for the King Island economy.
“Some of the report’s longer-term assumptions are simply crystal ball-gazing and, in our opinion, overly optimistic,” Mr Adair said.
“Hydro Tasmania has deliberately not over-cooked the potential long-term benefits of the project to win support because we don’t want to make promises we can’t keep. In our opinion, the latest report includes figures that don’t appear to stack up. It also has some incorrect assumptions about TasWind and some very optimistic forecasts.”
Hydro Tasmania also argued against the report’s golf courses versus wind farms scenarios, saying the two don’t have to work in opposition.
“While there is no doubt that the development of one or two golf courses on King Island can play a significant part in turning the local economy around, they cannot be the only answer. There is also no evidence that I am aware of that TasWind will detract from these golf courses reaching their full potential as suggested by the report,” he said.
Hydro Tasmania is currently seeking the support of the King Island community to take the project to the feasibility stage, with Mr Adair saying neither business nor the community would be able to support a good decision-making process if a feasibility study was not undertaken.
“The reality is that the King Island community will weigh up all the information, for and against the proposal, and make its decision based on what it understands and what is in its best interests,” he said.