How Tasmania missed its nine key energy targets

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Tasmania’s energy plan last year outlined nine key aims. It appears to have failed on all of them.

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Woolnorth wind farm, Tasmania
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As Tasmania struggles to deal with its energy crisis, and the government faces calls for a Senate inquiry into its handling on the Basslink cable cut, the depleting hydro resources and its lack of renewable energy, its worth having a look at the performance of its own energy plan.
Last year, the Tasmania government called for submissions and input to its plan and 29 submissions. According to energy expert Roy Ramage, who made a submission, it appears that the Tasmanian government ignored virtually everything.
Worse than that, Ramage suggests, it has not even succeeded on its own nine key objectives – a point that has been highlighted by the current crisis. “On any scale it is a strategy failure of gross dimension,” Ramage notes.
Here is his assessment of Tasmania’s Energy Strategy 2015, and the status of its nine key aims.
1. Tasmanian electricity prices will be amongst the lowest in Australia.
 
Status: Fail.
Grid costs : WA.  $460 p.a. Tas. $1,100 p.a. TasNetworks largest charges on all bills.
 
2. Tasmania’s State-owned energy businesses will be more cost efficient thereby contributing to the lowest possible electricity prices.
 
Status: Fail.
Hydro is $1.6bln in debt. Basslink costs $76m per annum for the next 16 years. It is broken and we are not told what the financial penalties – if any – are.
 
3. Consumers will have greater choice about how to meet their energy supply needs and will pay competitive, fair and predictable prices for those choices.
 
Status: Fail.
Two retailers Aurora & ERM – both reliant on power supply from Hydro, which is burdened with massive debt. Consumers can choose tweedle dum or tweedle dee. Time of use will become a critical factor as our peak use is in winter.
 
4. Consumers’ energy needs will be met through a safe, secure, and reliable supply, supported by the minimum necessary regulatory arrangements.
 
Status: Fail.
Debt; Drought, Basslink is broken. COAG, AEMO, AEMC multiple bodies involved in regulations – change is happening at glacial pace. The same people who worked in the same bodies chosen for the “expert” panel.
 
5. Tasmanian businesses will secure increased productivity and reduced cost pressure through affordable and predictable power prices and improved energy efficiency.
 
Status: Fail.
See above – Plus it has been importing coal-based energy from Victoria at higher prices.
 
6. Tasmanian households will experience less household budget pressure through affordable and predictable power prices and improved energy efficiency.
 
Status: Fail:
Just 29,602 pay as you go, customers, approx. 13% of total residential customers (OTER) in 2015.
 
7. The contribution of energy to cost of living pressure for the most vulnerable customers will be reduced.
 
Status: Uncertain.
Given the status of aim 6 how and when must be asked.
 
8. Tasmania will be attractive for energy intensive industry through the provision of competitive  predictable, long term power offerings.
 
Status: Fail:
Major customers asked to scale back operations to the point of employment losses. Reliable, cheap energy has not been achieved, The import of coal-based energy – how can industry see this as attractive?
 
9. Tasmania will continue to contribute significantly to renewable energy nationally reinforcing its reputation as the renewable energy state.
 
Status: Fail.
Hydro could claim some success on King Island with renewables and storage, but appears to have stopped there. Strategy 9, on any scale, now un-obtainable given the lead by other states particularly South Australia.
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14 Comments
  1. Ken Dyer 3 years ago

    Let us not forget number 10. Political will for energy transition. Status: Fail
    http://www.hydro.com.au/energy/taswind
    Tasmania caved in to pressure from the Federal COALition in 2014 to cancel the King Island wind farm that would have delivered 600 MW, and assured Tasmania’s energy future.

    • Geoff James 3 years ago

      Possibly, Ken, but remember that the main market for this project was the NEM via direct interconnection to Victoria. The further connection to Tasmania was a potential option and may not have happened. So it probably wouldn’t have helped Tasmania’s present predicament.

  2. JeffJL 3 years ago

    If only point 7 were not there the Tasmanian Government would rate 100%

  3. Farmer Dave 3 years ago

    Good analysis, Roy and Giles. Tasmanian government electricity strategy seems to have been completely captured by the incumbent creators, regulators, and main players in the National Electricity Market. Their approach to forms of energy other than electricity is even worse. I have been hoping that the current electricity crisis in Tasmania would force the Liberal party to widen their pool of advisors and to ask obvious questions like: What form of renewable electricity generation is the fastest to deploy? Alas, it looks like this crisis will go to waste and nothing will have been learned.

  4. Roland 3 years ago

    Wind will never ever power a modern country. Converting to Renewable’s is the recipe to get back to the storage of living.

    • Goldie444 3 years ago

      What??

      • Roland 3 years ago

        “Stone Age”, sorry spell checker.
        Let’s wait until the German realize that this type of policy
        is a step backward into the Stone Age of power generation. We do not need to
        follow stu pidity.

        • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

          Roland, please back up your assertions.

          • Roland 3 years ago

            This is my opinion as an engineer.

          • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

            Ok that’s nice but if you are an engineer you will have more than opinions to back it up so I ask again: what evidence or reasoning can you offer to back up your assertions?

          • Roland 3 years ago

            A power source and its delivery system for a developed country
            needs to be: first = reliable; second = secure and third affordable. That means wind power and all other renewables are not suitable to power a developed or developing country

            It is also dangerous for a country to depend on these energy
            sources if you consider that global warming and the weather predictions of the IPCC caused by CO2 are real; meaning that the extreme weather predictions if they really eventuate will possibly shut down renewable power generation just in a time when it is most likely desperately needed.

            Just like Tasmania so hat Costa Rica, the so called 100%
            renewable country to run the power supply recently for seven month with diesel generators; this, o wonder, because of lack of rain.

          • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

            Wind is a strong component of a portfolio approach to power supply. Denmark in an example ofvacdeveloped country that has very high wind generators installed , both onshore and offshore. Britain too has similar high numbers of winfpd turbines. Tassie has a it 300mw capacity but it is the roaring forties where wind is a reliable resources.

            I reject your argument but thanks for backin up your assertions.

          • Roland 3 years ago

            No problem.

  5. Goldie444 3 years ago

    IMHP
    just had a read of some of the pages at http://www.hydro.com.au/energy… including their media releases under Current news.
    3 months after the Basslink trip on 20 Dec 2015, Hydro Tas (HT) seem to think they have to still cover their A… by saying they importing power via Basslink at the time of the trip and not exporting to the Victoria:
    “A small amount of energy was exported in December because prices were high enough to justify this action. Victorian prices during the period in question reached a peak of $1626/MWh.”
    and this
    “the export of just over 9 GWh is equivalent to about a third of a day’s average Tasmanian demand –
    and Hydro Tasmania imported 193 GWh for the month of December until the link broke.”

    so between the lines, does this mean HT were gaming the system for pricing on the National Energy Market – “Tasmania imported heavily to preserve hydro storages during October, November and December until the link unexpectedly went out of service” but is was OK to run their storages down to make a bit of easy money.

    The same group of guys that were setting policy then, have been asked to write new policy when the dams have low rainfall during on going the “drought”. Like lets get more diesel before anything else first.

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