TasNetworks is continuing to progress the proposed North West Tasmania transmission developments. As part of this we are undertaking aerial inspections to conduct additional eagle nest surveys in the vicinity of the proposed developments.Eagle nest surveys form a vital part of the environmental impact assessment for the North West Tasmania Transmission developments.In the week commencing 25 May 2020.

TasNetworks will undertake additional eagle nest surveys, involving an aerial inspection in the vicinity of:
Heybridge, Chasm Creek, Stowport, the Deloraine area, East Cam, West Mooreville, West Ridgley, Ridgley, Highclere and Hampshire. These are in addition to surveys carried out between 11 – 15 May.

Eagle nest surveys help to confirm existing Natural Values Atlas (NVA) nest location records and to identify any new nests within proximity of the easement.

Findings from the surveyed area will be used in route selection and design, in addition to planning for construction activities, to help mitigate impacts on eagles should the proposed North West Tasmania Transmission developments required to support Marinus Link proceed.

TasNetworks has engaged local ecologists and helicopter service providers to undertake the aerial inspection, who have expertise in undertaking natural values assessments, including eagle nest surveys. 

This survey work provides a welcome opportunity for TasNetworks to support local providers and businesses, and to engage with local communities in North West Tasmania during this challenging time of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It forms part of the critical early works needed to progress the proposed North West Tasmania transmission developments required to support Marinus Link and the implementation of TasNetworks’ North West Tasmania Strategic Transmission Plan. TasNetworks has received $56 million in federal funding to progress with this work.

These developments are part of supporting the significant jobs and investment opportunity in Tasmania from Marinus Link, the Battery of the Nation and the state’s world class wind resources.

Read more about the North West Tasmania transmission developments here.

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TasNetworks has welcomed the draft Tasmanian Renewable Energy Action Plan (TREAP), released today by The Hon. Guy Barnett Minister for Energy.

The 20 year plan, which includes TasNetworks’ proposed second Bass Strait interconnector, Marinus Link, plots a clear path to ensure Tasmania can fully realise its potential to become the Battery of the Nation.

Underpinning the plan, is the target to double our state’s renewable generation capacity, with a target of 200 per cent renewable capacity by 2040.

“The Tasmanian Renewable Energy Action Plan is a clear signal of Tasmania’s ambition to be a renewable energy powerhouse – which will drive jobs and economic stimulus in Tasmania for generations to come,” TasNetworks’ CEO Lance Balcombe said.

“TasNetworks will continue to work with its owners, the Tasmanian Government, and all renewable energy proponents to ensure that Marinus Link is ready to deliver the low-cost, reliable and clean energy and storage that the National Electricity Market needs as it transitions to a renewable energy future.”

Mr Balcombe said Marinus Link, and the supporting transmission developments in Tasmania, provide benefits such as unlocking the State’s abundant renewable energy generation and deep storage potential.

“Marinus Link unlocks a pipeline of investment in renewable energy and long-duration energy storage with an estimated value of up to $5.7 billion and 2,350 jobs,” he said.

Marinus Link has progressed into the ‘Design and Approvals’ phase, thanks to $56 million in funding provided by the Australian Government, with an aim to be ‘shovel ready’ by the mid-2020s – an objective supported in the draft 2020 Integrated System Plan prepared by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

ENDS

Media contact

Dan Sinkovits | 0417 767 124
daniel.sinkovits@tasnetworks.com.au

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TasNetworks is continuing to progress the proposed North West Tasmania transmission developments, with work currently focused on the Hampshire to Staverton section.

Eagle nest surveys form a vital part of the environmental impact assessment for the North West Tasmania Transmission developments, and in the week commencing 11 May 2020, TasNetworks will undertake eagle nest surveys in the vicinity of the potential Hampshire to Staverton route.

Eagle nest surveys help to confirm existing Natural Values Atlas (NVA) nest location records and to identify any new nests within proximity of the easement.

Findings from the surveyed area will be used in route selection and design, in addition to planning for construction activities, should the proposed North West Tasmania Transmission development required to support Marinus Link proceed.

TasNetworks has engaged local ecologists and helicopter service providers to undertake the aerial inspection, who have expertise in undertaking natural values assessments, including eagle nest surveys.

This survey work provides a welcome opportunity for TasNetworks to support local providers and businesses, and to engage with local communities in North West Tasmania during this challenging time of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It forms part of the critical early works required to progress the proposed North West Tasmania transmission developments required to support Marinus Link and the implementation of TasNetworks’ North West Tasmania Strategic Transmission Plan. TasNetworks has received $56 million in federal funding to progress with this work.

These developments are part of supporting the significant jobs and investment opportunity in Tasmania from Marinus Link, the Battery of the Nation and the state’s world class wind resources.

Read more about the North West Tasmania transmission developments here.

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TasNetworks has received feedback on the PADR as part of the RIT-T consultation process.

A total of 14 submissions were received, of which 2 were confidential. 

Non-confidential stakeholder submissions are provided below. Responses to this consultation will be summarised in the next stage of Marinus Link investigation.

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The National Electricity Market (NEM) is experiencing unprecedented change as ageing baseload fossil-fuel generators continue to retire.  Increasingly energy is supplied by low cost, but variable, renewable wind and solar generation, that needs to be backed by dispatchable and flexible ‘on-demand’ firming capacity to fill the supply gaps when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. Increased energy efficiency, together with large and small scale batteries, are also expected to play an increasing role in Australia’s future energy market.

By 2035, at least 12,000 MW of coal generation is expected to reach its end-of-life and retire. Modelling shows that to replace it, the NEM will need at least 40,000 MW of variable renewables, such as wind and solar generation, and 8,000 MW of ‘firming’ dispatchable generation and storage (in addition to the 2,000 MW coming from Snowy 2.0), such as hydroelectric and gas generation, to meet customer requirements.

The Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) is a cost benefit analysis overseen by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). It assesses the economic and technical impact of, and preferred timing for, all major network investments in the national energy market (NEM). The RIT-T process.

ensures regulated transmission investment decisions are in the long term interests of customers.

TasNetworks published its Project Assessment Draft Report (PADR) as part of the RIT-T process in December 2019. The PADR follows on from the Project Specification Draft Report (PSCR) released in July 2018, which described the identified need for Marinus Link.

TasNetworks’ PADR analysis concludes that that Marinus Link and supporting transmission provide substantially greater benefits than costs under all TasNetworks scenarios modelled. The PADR analysis shows that the optimal interconnection capacity is 1500 MW, built in two separate 750 MW links. The optimal timing for the two stages is 2028 and 2032.

The first 750 MW of Marinus Link provides the opportunity to access available and repurposed hydro capacity in the existing Tasmanian hydro system. The prospect of utilising existing Tasmanian hydro capacity allows the NEM to defer the need for investment in more expensive and higher risk new generation alternatives like pumped hydro and gas powered generators.

The first stage of Marinus Link also accompanies up to 900 MW of additional wind development in Tasmania, depending upon the RIT-T scenario. The second 750 MW of Marinus Link sees further wind development and complements the development of cost effective and long duration pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) in Tasmania.

In addition to low emission dispatchable hydro and pumped hydro energy, Tasmania has some of the best land-based wind resources in the country. This results in higher capacity factors (ie higher average energy output), which means that the cost of generating a unit of energy could be up to 25% lower in Tasmania as compared to elsewhere in Australia. Marinus Link unlocks this wind generation potential and enables delivery of higher value generation to the broader National Electricity Market. A 1500 MW Marinus Link unlocks the potential for up to 3,000 MW of additional wind development in Tasmania.

In summary, Marinus Link assists in unlocking high value Tasmanian renewable energy resources, assisting to address the energy trilemma: delivering low-cost, reliable and clean energy to customers around Australia.

The Marinus RIT-T PADR Industry Forums were held in three locations; Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney. These locations were chosen to reach many key industry stakeholders in the NEM regions, including in Victoria and New South Wales, where customers are expected to see significant energy market benefits from Marinus Link. Attendance was encouraging with close to 150 highly engaged attendees across the three forums.

Andrew Turley, Manager Integrated Energy Systems at AEMO attended each forum to provide an update on the Integrated System Plan (ISP). Andrew highlighted that the draft ISP released in late 2019 proposed progress of a ‘shovel ready’ Marinus Link project, so that the link can be in service when the NEM needs it.

Some of the questions asked by attendees were:

  • How will the 2020 ISP, due for release in mid-2020 be taken into account in the RIT-T analysis?
  • What are the trigger events that could see Marinus timing come forward?
  • How does the recent Tasmanian Renewable Energy Target (TRET) of 200% renewables by 2040, affect the need for Marinus?
  • Who will pay for Marinus Link?  Who will own and or invest in it?  Which customers will pay for its services?
  • Is there sufficient existing and new generation capacity planned in Tasmania to fully utilise the proposed 1500 MW increase in interconnection, above and beyond the existing 500 MW Basslink interconnector currently provides?
  • What are the advantages of staging the link’s development?  What does developing a 1500 MW Marinus link in stages mean in terms of the type of generation that is unlocked?

In the interests of increased modelling transparency and ‘crowdsourcing’ of modelling insights, TasNetworks made hourly modelling outcomes for the Marinus Link RIT-T options available upon request. The hourly data package details generation by each technology type on a regional basis, together with interconnector flows and forecast demand. For those who are interested in accessing this data, please contact us at team@marinuslink.com.au.

TasNetworks has received submissions on the PADR as part of the RIT-T consultation process.  Non-confidential submissions will be loaded on the TasNetworks website. All submissions will be taken into account as TasNetworks continues the RIT-T analysis.

TasNetworks proposes to undertake further modelling once the Final 2020 ISP has been released, and before finalising the RIT-T assessment. This further modelling will also be provided for consultation, and is discussed further below.

AEMO’s draft ISP, which considers future transmission investment needs for the NEM, included a range of scenarios and possible in-service dates for Marinus Link and other interconnectors.  TasNetworks’ RIT-T PADR analysis was based on earlier assumptions published by AEMO, and some different modelling considerations, and these lead to some differences in modelling outcomes between the PADR and the draft ISP. TasNetworks continues to work with AEMO as it finalises the Final 2020 ISP.

As shared with stakeholders at the Marinus Link PADR industry forums, TasNetworks is planning to publish a supplementary market modelling report after the Final 2020 ISP is released. The modelling in this report will aim to incorporate final set of inputs and assumptions used in the Final 2020 ISP.

This supplementary report will also consider impacts of the recently announced Tasmanian Renewable Energy Target (TRET), doubling Tasmanian renewable generation by 2040.

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23 April 2020
From Lance Balcombe – TasNetworks CEO

Tasmania can become the Battery of the Nation by providing cost-competitive deep storage, according to new white paper analysis released this week by Hydro Tasmania.

The new report supports the findings of TasNetworks’ Marinus Link Business Case, released last year, which demonstrated Marinus Link and the supporting transmission developments in Tasmania provide benefits: unlocking Tasmania’s abundant renewable energy generation and deep storage potential.

In response to the Hydro Tasmania white paper, TasNetworks CEO Lance Balcombe said Marinus Link and Battery of the Nation are part of the lowest cost solution to the National Electricity Market (NEM), by providing dispatchable, abundant clean energy – where it’s needed and when it’s needed.

“Deep storage and flexible generation is essential to support increases in variable wind and solar generation that is occurring across the country,” Mr Balcombe said.

“Marinus Link and Battery of the Nation collectively present a huge opportunity to harness the increasing levels of renewable generation in Tasmania and Victoria.”

Marinus Link, and its supporting development in North West Tasmania and regional Victoria, will also offer a valuable opportunity to stimulate jobs and investment in these challenging times.

“The projects can create billions in economic growth, thousands of jobs, and be a catalyst of skills and local content development in Tasmania and regional Victoria,” Mr Balcombe said.

“Marinus Link unlocks a pipeline of investment in renewable energy and long-duration energy storage with an estimated value of up to $5.7 billion and 2,350 jobs – which includes Hydro Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation initiative.”

Marinus Link has progressed into the ‘Design and Approvals’ phase, thanks to $56 million in funding provided by the Australian Government, with an aim to be ‘shovel ready’ by the mid-2020s – an objective supported in the draft 2020 Integrated System Plan prepared by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

ENDS

Media contact

Dan Sinkovits | 0417 767 124
daniel.sinkovits@tasnetworks.com.au

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In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, TasNetworks is reviewing all work priorities, including those relevant to Marinus Link and the supporting North West Tasmania transmission developments.

TasNetworks provides an essential service: delivering Tasmania’s energy supply. We are taking calm but decisive action to limit the risks posed by COVID-19 and prepare for all scenarios. We are focussed on supporting the continuing good health and safety of our team members and community, and on protecting our key operations. While we do this, we expect that some project timelines will be impacted by delays.

TasNetworks is working through forward plans for Marinus Link and the supporting North West Tasmania transmission developments with our Shareholding Ministers, including COVID-19 considerations. We continue to prepare for future engagement activities, to be ready to activate once the pathway through COVID-19 is clearer.

We are flexible
Due to these circumstances, planning for engagements needs careful review. We appreciate that the current uncertainty presents challenges for people to engage in these processes. We are committed to maximising engagement opportunities, recognising that individual circumstance may vary. To that end, we will work with landowners and other interested parties in a tailored and respectful manner.

When the time is right and with respect to communities, we plan to have:

  • Ongoing discussions with landowners as part of the route selection process and establishing access agreements to conduct surveys.
  • Discussions with Hampshire to Staverton communities regarding any route alternatives, other network assets and infrastructure including proposed switching stations and associated visual impact assessment.
  • An updated schedule of engagement on the remaining North West Tasmania transmission developments.

We’d like to hear from you about how we can engage with you and your community during this time so please get in touch via the contact details below.

Our current focus for engagement:

We are here

Please get in touch via our project email and phone line with any questions about the project, or if you want to find out more on the TasNetworks website.

Email: team@marinuslink.com.au
Phone: 1300 127 777

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It’s no secret that today’s women face barriers, both in and outside of the workplace. While gender diversity and equality have come a long way, women are still under represented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). At TasNetworks’ Project Marinus, women are carving out their own place on the $3.5 billion project. We chatted to two women working on the interconnector project about role models and stereotypes for International Women’s Day.

Bess Clark – General Manager

The theme for IWD this year is #eachforequal, drawing on the notion that an individual’s small actions can have an impact on our larger society. What are some small things you’re doing to help accelerate gender equality?

Well one of the little things I try do to, particularly over Christmas, is just encourage people to take time off to go and see kids’ school plays and neighbours’ events. It’s part of broader community and life – actually recognising these things are important and makes rich humans. It’s also about blocking out dairies, and spending time with families. I’ve actually had positive feedback that this is something that’s not always done.

The other thing that I’m getting more conscious of at TasNetworks is having female representatives on panels. Having women speaking at conferences and forums ensures we have that visible representation of competent females leading and bringing expertise to the work we do.

“You can go to lots of forums and conferences and it’s all blokes in suits sitting on a stage; so it’s quite nice to see females in suits.”

What advice would you give to a women in a male-dominated industry?

I’ve always worked in male-dominated industries; I come from a farming background – which is traditionally very male-dominated, and now in the energy sector, which is also very male-dominated.

I didn’t necessarily see its impact – it’s just what I’m used to, but looking back, I’ve actually been incredibly supported and coached by male peers and mentors and really benefited from it.

A lot of the blokes I worked with haven’t been afraid to call a spade a spade, however, they’re inherent biases we all have about our gender; some of the biases might make it harder for women, or in fact people looking after families.

“It’s actually about getting comfortable as a society to talk more openly about things that affect people’s lives and how they turn up each day.

“We can be much more honest about how need to work and interact with each other.”

Jane Barrow – Project Management Lead

What do you believe is the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

Women still tend to bear most of the work at home. It’s encouraging to see more young fathers taking on home responsibilities, but this needs to become the norm. Currently, many women in senior positions either don’t have children, or have a partner that takes on the home responsibilities; flexible working arrangements for both men and women needs to become more normalised.

“Stay true to your own values and goals.”

What are some small things you’re doing to help accelerate gender equality?

I’m providing flexible working arrangements for those who report to me,
encouraging my daughters to be self-sufficient and pursue their own goals, and also influence their partners to be accepting of this. I’m also working to encourage discussion in the workplace about issues that are traditionally seen as women’s issues.

“Women are able to achieve in diverse and non-traditional areas.”

What assumptions about women would you like to change?

  • That we are all the same;

  • That we can’t read maps;

  • That older women are not able to learn new things;

  • That we all have the same issues.

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TasNetworks has extended the closing date for submissions to the Marinus Link Project Assessment Draft Report until 6th April 2020.

This will allow interested parties more time to make a submission. Submissions can be sent to team@marinuslink.com.au

Our Project Assessment Draft Report, together will supporting technical information, can be found here.

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TasNetworks has begun marine surveys in the Bass Strait as an important next step in delivering a ‘shovel ready’ Marinus Link and supporting transmission project. Work will be undertaken in Victorian State Waters and the Waratah Bay Coastal Reserve over the coming weeks.

Marine surveys of the sea bed are part of preliminary works as the proposed Marinus Link and supporting transmission major infrastructure project moves into the ‘Design and Approvals’ stage.

The survey work will help determine the best route for Marinus Link’s undersea cables, and will mainly be using sonar technology to measure the surface and subsurface of the sea bed. This survey work will be carried out in February and March 2020 dependent on weather conditions.

Progressing the ‘Design and Approvals’ stage is made possible thanks to $56 million in funding provided by the Australian Government in an announcement by the Prime Minister in 2019.

The Marinus Link Business Case Assessment Report was released in December 2019 with $20m in funding support from the Australian Government through The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Tasmanian Government through TasNetworks.

The report demonstrated that a 1500 MW Marinus Link is technically feasible and commercially viable and that work should continue to deliver a ‘shovel ready’ Marinus Link to support the National Electricity Market as Australia transitions to a renewable energy future.

Marinus Link is essential infrastructure to strengthen the national electricity grid and unlock Tasmania’s potential as a renewable energy powerhouse and the Battery of the Nation, delivering low-cost reliable and clean energy to customers around Australia.

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Additional planned eagle nest surveys

TasNetworks is continuing to progress the proposed North West Tasmania transmission developments. As part of this we are undertaking aerial…
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Media release – TasNetworks supports Tasmanian Renewable Energy Action Plan

TasNetworks has welcomed the draft Tasmanian Renewable Energy Action Plan (TREAP), released today by The Hon. Guy Barnett Minister for…
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Planned Eagle Nest Surveys

TasNetworks is continuing to progress the proposed North West Tasmania transmission developments, with work currently focused on the Hampshire to…
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