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Tasmania wins Freeloader Climate Fashion Award for aim to “be 200% renewable” by 2040

Tasmania, graph
The Tasmanian Government has just announced they will be “200% renewable” by 2040 — a feat only possible because they have an umbilical cord to hostages in the mainland who have to pay for irrelevant surges in electricity that arrive when they don’t need it. The same hostages will send back fossil powered electricity every week to keep Tasmania running when the wind and sun stop and the water is worth more in the dam than out of it. Not to mention container-ships of GST cash to support the state with the second highest unemployment in the nation.

This is the same state that went 100% renewable for three months in 2015 and launched itself into an electricity crisis. They decommissioned the last fossil fuel power station, just in time to get islanded by a break in their umbilical cable and thence had to order flying squads of diesel generators to keep the lights on at a cost of at least $140m. They also had to restart the same plant they just closed. The state lost half a billion dollars in the crisis — nearly twice the cost of the newish gas plant which had only built in 2009.

Meanwhile, they’re aiming for 200% renewable, but the state has yet to get back to the magic 100% renewable, but hopes to by 2022.

All these quarters in the red below are ones where Tasmania needed to import up to 30 percent of its own electricity from the mainland. Not visible here are all the days during the blue “export” quarters where generators in Victoria kept the lights on in Hobart.

Tasmanian Electricity Imports, Exports, AER, Graph.

Tasmanian Electricity — quarterly interstate transfers —  Imports (red) and Exports (blue)


All the high export “blue” quarters in 2013 -2015 were during the carbon tax era. Tasmanian Hydro was running the dams down in El Nino conditions through carbon tax funded greed. The state got so desperately short of water in 2016 the intellectual giants in charge of Tas Hydro paid to do cloud seeding to fill the dams. Which would have been fine if they weren’t trying to do it in the face of a monster storm front that created flash flooding.

Too bad the Sun shines and the wind blows at the same time in Tasmania as it does in Victoria

Wind farms in both states are highly correlated so the extra energy will be pushed onto Victoria when it doesn’t need it. More unreliable power dumped on the National Grid just means that last reliable generators run less efficiently and have to raise their prices or go broke.

Droughts in both states are also “correlated”. The government hopes Tasmania will be the battery of the nation, but short of moving the island to Peru, when there’s a drought in Australia, the battery might be flat.

Money from the mothership is probably also coming for the Hydrogen Projects the state is planning, and possibly (who knows) to fund the  unneeded second undersea interconnector which will benefit foreign companies like UPC Renewables who want to build the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a project so unpopular even the Greens in Tasmania don’t want it.

Interconnectors are always sold as “opening up potential” but they are hugely expensive, the potential they open isn’t economic in its own right, and the billion-dollar cables wouldn’t be needed if states were self-sufficient with baseload stable power like they all used to be, and could be again.

Preliminary findings from that study indicate that the benefits of a second interconnector could outweigh the costs by $500 million.

But a 2016 report into the feasibility of adding a second undersea link suggested it would not be worth the $1 billion investment unless at least 1,000MW of new renewable energy capacity was built in Tasmania. — Reneweconomy

Australia has 300 years of perfectly good cheap coal, and probably a million years worth of uranium. Energy policy doesn’t have to be this dumb.


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