Tasmania launches consultations on first renewable energy zone

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The Tasmanian government has opened the consultation period on the proposed North West Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) that is expected to unlock at least 1 GW of additional solar, wind, hydrogen, and energy storage projects.

The proposed North West REZ is to be established south of Burnie and will encompass 114,000 hectares, taking in parts of four local government areas, including Waratah-Wynyard, Burnie, Kentish and Central Coast.

State-owned utility TasNetworks said the area has been identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) as a high priority renewable energy zone with “excellent potential for developing renewable generation, storage and dispatchable ‘on demand’ energy projects, including large-scale wind, pumped hydro and energy storage developments.”

The region also hosts the expected connection point for Marinus Link, the proposed 1,500 MW capacity undersea and underground electricity transmission interconnector that will link Tasmania to Victoria.

Tasmanian Energy Minister Nick Duigan said the location of the proposed REZ is the result of 18 months of analysis and engagement with communities and industry.

“The northwest has world-class wind resources along with the space and infrastructure for renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar farms,” he said, adding that the consultation is the next step in delivering the REZ which is a key part of the state’s clean energy future.

Tasmania has been able to meet 100% of its electricity needs with renewable energy since 2020 but the state’s electricity demand is growing.

“Tasmania’s population is growing and so too are our energy needs, that’s why we deliver a renewable energy zone as part of our Strong Plan for Tasmania’s Future,” Duigan said. “Renewable energy zones will coordinate and foster renewable generation development in the most suitable areas of Tasmania and minimise supporting transmission infrastructure.”

“This will ensure we can meet demand, while also bringing to the state new jobs and economic opportunities.”

As part of the creation of the North West REZ, the Tasmanian government is to work with TasNetworks to progress the development of new transmission infrastructure between Burnie and Hampshire Hills. The proposed works include upgrades to existing transmission lines,
new transmission lines and new electrical substations.

“Our government will underwrite transmission infrastructure between Burnie and Hampshire to support new and existing renewable energy generation projects in the region,” Duigan said.

Consultation on the proposed North West REZ boundary and an associated community benefits scheme will occur over the next six weeks, with a market offering for proponents to follow.

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