Question without notice - Tasmanian Gas Pipeline & Tamar Valley Power Station
Thursday 11 November 2021
Ms ARMITAGE question to the LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
Leader, my questions are:
(1) The Tasmanian Gas Pipeline has provided information to members, suggesting that the Government, through the Hydro is pursuing a new gas contract for the Tamar Valley Power Station, which will be insufficient to power the combined-cycle gas turbine.
(2) Is this correct?
(3) The inquiry into the energy crisis of 2015-16 found that the Tamar Valley Power Station should be retained, recommending that the Tamar Valley Power Station, particularly the combined-cycle gas turbine should be retained at least until there is a reliable alternative in place to mitigate against hydrological and Basslink failure risk.
(4) Given the Government's decision to abandon the back-up generation capacity of the gas-fired combined-cycle gas turbine, in the words of the Tasmanian Gas Pipeline, in their letter of 4 November 2021, why is the Government mothballing the combined-cycle gas turbine?
Mr President, the answer is, Tasmania's renewable energy future has never been more secure. Tasmania's energy security is underpinned by our Hydro storage levels, which as of Monday 8 November, sit at a healthy 52.6 per cent, the highest storage level since 2014. The energy security risk response framework, which the Government put in place in legislation by way of amendments to the Energy Co-ordination and Planning Act of 1995 is working effectively. The Government takes seriously the 2017 Tasmanian Energy Security Taskforce recommendations regarding retaining the Tamar Valley Power Station.
In recognition of the important role that the Tamar Valley Power Station plays in energy security, the Government committed to retaining it at the state election in May this year. Since that time Tasmania's energy profile has also significantly changed. Wind farms that have become operational since that recommendation, like Cattle Hill and Granville Harbour, inject an additional 260 megawatts of capacity into the power system. This has helped Tasmania reach 100 per cent self-sufficiency in renewable electricity, well ahead of our 2022 target. To further build on this momentum, the Government has legislated a world‑leading 200 per cent Tasmanian renewable energy target. The current gas transportation contracts between Hydro Tasmania and the Tasmanian Gas Pipeline expire on 31 December 2021. The negotiations for the next contract are actively underway.
The negotiations are commercially sensitive and are occurring at arm's length from the Government, as is appropriate. It would, therefore, be inappropriate for the Government to disclose or comment on the details of these negotiations while they were underway. However, I can confirm, as previously stated by acting CEO of Hydro, Ian Brooksbank, that there are no plans to decommission the combined-cycle gas turbine at the Tamar Valley Power Station. Tasmania should be assured our energy security is stronger than ever and the Government will ensure that the outcome of negotiations between Hydro Tasmania and the Tasmanian Gas Pipeline will be in the best interests of Tasmanians.