RE-Alliance recently provided a submission to the Inquiry looking into energy prices in Tasmania. There are two main areas of focus for this Inquiry:
- Factors that impact energy prices for Tasmanians
- Opportunities and challenges for the Tasmanian government as owners of power generation and transmission infrastructure
In our response, we drew from engagement with communities and environment issues associated with renewable energy and transmission projects in Tasmania, particularly in the North West of the state and with communities in the North-West Renewable Energy Zone.
We argued that while Tasmania is majority supplied by renewable energy today, there are limitations to further expansion of generation capacity for local community consumption and for industrial expansion opportunities. The present risk of the single Basslink cable to the mainland of Australia – and its failure in 2015-16 – demonstrate that a key issue for energy prices for Tasmanians is interconnector resilience. For this reason, and its ability to enable more generation and expansion of business, and industry – with flow on job opportunities – we strongly support the Marinus Link project.
We noted that there are increasing numbers of Tasmanian households choosing to mitigate energy price risks by adding solar. This is good, but it is limited to home owners largely in urban settings. We argued that there are key challenges in terms of access to solar for farm and industry scale applications as well as for renters and those on low incomes. We strongly support more action to enable more Tasmanians to access financial incentives to install solar panels.
We urged the Committee to consider a number of other issues in relation to energy prices, including:
- Under-served regions, who today face real challenges for access to the electricity grid.
- Consumer-owned resources, particularly as they relate to promoting energy equity
- Transmission landholder and neighbour payments for those hosting new energy infrastructure, in line with other states.
- Community empowerment and long-term benefit sharing approaches especially in relation to communities hosting renewable energy infrastructure.
- Community co-ownership, co-investment and equity arrangements for energy assets.
For more, read our full submission.