TasNetworks and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced plans to undertake a detailed feasibility and business case assessment for a second interconnector across Bass Strait between Tasmania and the mainland grid.
A second interconnector would allow Tasmania to expand the amount of renewable energy it could provide to the national grid, and would also facilitate greater investment in wind and solar projects in Tasmania and support Hydro Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation concept.
Additionally, it would assist in providing a secure and reliable backup for Tasmanian and mainland customers and play an important role in supporting the National Energy Guarantee, the company explained.
This more detailed feasibility and business case assessment is expected to cost $20 million and would be jointly funded by TasNetworks and ARENA.
TasNetworks and ARENA will work together to define the scope of the study, which will then require formal assessment and funding approval by ARENA for its share of costs.
The scope of the feasibility for a second interconnector to link Tasmania and Victoria across the Bass Strait will cover the preferred route and optimum capacity of the cable, technical specifications and supply arrangements for the cable, environmental considerations, cost estimates for the second interconnector, regulatory revenue investment test and the development of financial and development models to implement the second interconnector.
TasNetworks chief executive officer, Lance Balcombe, said: “TasNetworks is excited to work with ARENA to explore the potential for a second interconnector which could unlock huge potential for Tasmania to become a major energy exporter.”
“The announcement represents a significant commitment from TasNetworks and the Tasmanian and Federal Governments. However, much work is required to finalize the scope and secure funding from ARENA during the first quarter of 2018” Balcombe said.
ARENA chief executive officer, Ivor Frischknecht, said the scoping studies would examine how increased interconnection could support Australia’s growing energy demand and help accelerate the nation’s
transition to renewable energy.
“These scoping studies are the first step towards increased interconnection between Tasmania and the mainland which could ultimately deliver secure and reliable energy to millions of Australian consumers,” Frischknecht said.