Big Circular Head wind farm developments remain in the pipeline despite political upheaval and energy policy uncertainty in Canberra.
“We believe that the combination of wind and pumped hydro energy will put downward pressure on energy prices in Tasmania and interstate,” UPC Renewables Australia chief executive Anton Rohner said.
The company is planning a wind farm on Robbins Island and another at nearby Jims Plain, plus a big solar farm in New South Wales.
Mr Rohner said it was aiming to lodge its draft development approval documents for the Tasmanian project in November.
The wind farms are expected to cost more than $1.5 billion and create more than 400 construction jobs and about 75 ongoing jobs.
Mr Rohner was speaking after a forum involving electricity generation companies in Hobart.
Energy Minister Guy Barnett said the forum was “to plan the future of Tasmania’s electricity system and unlock billions in investment and thousands of jobs”.
”Further interconnection across Bass Strait is the key, as it allows excess renewable energy generated in the state to be exported to the mainland at premium prices, with the profits returning to Tasmania.
“This also supports Battery of the Nation projects including pumped hydro, which will drive billions in investment and create thousands of jobs in Tasmania.”
He said UPC’s plans further supported the state government’s Tasmania First energy policy, “which has the ambitious target of Tasmania having the lowest regulated power prices by 2022, and to be fully self-sufficient with renewable energy in the same timeframe”.
Labor described the forum as a crisis meeting.
“Mr Barnett cannot explain Australia’s energy policy because there isn’t one,” Shadow Energy Minister David O’Byrne said, adding that energy projects were stranded in uncertainty.
“The newly minted federal Energy Minister (Angus Taylor) does not believe wind projects are economically viable,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“We have Mr Barnett with a one-line energy policy, but no idea who is going to pay for the second interconnector, pumped hydro or how he is going to traverse an energy policy minefield.”
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