In an effort to advance hydro power, the Federal Government has pledged an additional $75 million for the Marinus Link electricity interconnector and Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation project.
The Federal Government funding, on top of a previous $66 million already invested, will progress the Marinus Link to a Final Investment Decision and through the next stages of planning, design and approvals.
Marinus Link will export 1,500MW of fast-start, reliable hydro-electricity from Battery of the Nation and across Tasmania into the other regions of the National Electricity Market (NEM) when it is most needed, delivering an expected $4.6 billion in benefits across the market.
The Government is also providing $65 million to fund upgrade works on the Tarraleah hydro power scheme redevelopment in Tasmania’s Central Highlands, the first of the Battery of the Nation projects.
Hydro Tasmania Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ian Brooksbank, welcomed the funding, saying that together with investment from Hydro Tasmania, the roughly $123 million project would assess the commercial viability of redeveloping the scheme and enable upgrade works to commence in coming months that provide flexibility for the scheme’s future.
“The scheme has served Tasmania well for decades, but it is ageing and in need of significant investment to ensure its safe and reliable operation well into the future,” Mr Brooksbank said.
“We know that the future market will need renewable energy sources that can respond quickly to changes in demand. This is an opportunity to future proof the Tarraleah scheme and optimise it for a bigger role in Australia’s clean energy transition.”
These projects will deliver reliable increased renewable capacity to the NEM and bring the Federal Government’s total commitment to $206 million.
Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said the Marinus Link and Battery of the Nation are true nation building projects.
“Together these game-changing projects will generate thousands of jobs, particularly in regional Tasmania and regional Victoria, and unlock new investment in other renewable energy projects across Tasmania,” Mr Morrison said.
“This announcement is the result of the strong partnership I share with Premier Peter Gutwein and his team, and reflects our shared long term commitment to the Marinus Link and delivering for Tasmania.”
Tasmanian Premier, Peter Gutwein, said the historic agreement would deliver thousands of jobs for Tasmanians while cementing Tasmania’s renewable energy future.
“This is a significant agreement for a clean energy highway, helping to reduce emissions, deliver reliable and affordable energy for consumers, and strengthen Tasmania’s economy through new jobs and investment,” Mr Gutwein said.
“Tasmania is already a world-leader in renewable energy. We can already generate 100 per cent of our energy from renewables with a target to double that by 2040.
“Through Marinus Link, we will take this to the next level, helping to cut at least 140 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2050 – the equivalent of taking around a million cars off the road.
“During construction it will deliver 1,400 direct and indirect jobs in Tasmania.
“But most importantly, for Tasmanians and Tasmanian families, it will put downward pressure on electricity prices, helping to ease the cost of living for Tasmanian families into the future.”
Federal Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said Marinus and Battery of the Nation are key parts of the Federal Government’s plan to deliver a more reliable electricity supply, a more secure grid and lower prices.
“Support of critical reliable generation, like Battery of the Nation, and support of transmission projects that stack up for consumers, like Marinus Link, are key parts of our plan to ensure Australians continue to have the affordable, reliable power they deserve as we bring down our emissions,” Mr Taylor said.
“This is why, in addition to the $140 million in direct support we are providing today, we have also committed to a clear pathway for progressing underwriting of the Tarraleah Battery of the Nation Project through our Underwriting New Generation Investments program.”
The Marinus Link project, which involves 250km of undersea cable and 90km of underground cable in Victoria, will deliver around 2,800 jobs at peak construction, and will stimulate investment in hydro and wind generation.
Battery of the Nation is expected to deliver a further 1,120 jobs across Tasmania.
Tasmanian Energy and Emissions Reductions Minister, Guy Barnett, said this was another important step in delivering this nationally significant infrastructure, as well as providing Tasmania with further energy supply and storage capacity.
“Marinus Link is expected to inject billions into the Tasmanian economy, create thousands of jobs, and provide broader renewable energy opportunities,” Mr Barnett said.
“Complementary to our green hydrogen plans, this will deliver the confidence in our renewable energy future that investors have been looking for, unlocking a further pipeline of projects in Tasmania.”
The Federal and Tasmanian Governments will provide strong oversight of both projects through a Joint Ministerial Governance Committee and a Joint Committee of Senior Officials to monitor delivery milestones.
Federal nominees will also join the Marinus Link Pty Ltd Board to reflect its 50 per cent investment and partnership in the project.
A Final Investment Decision on the Marinus Link project is anticipated in 2024.
Image: Proposed new Tarraleah station concept. Courtesy of Hydro Tasmania.