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Cutting carbon emissions requires electricity

The University of Tasmania report reminds us of the opportunity for Tasmania to claim position as a leader in fighting climate change. We must all work together for the benefit of Tasmania’s economy and our global environment. 

The University of Tasmania has published its latest annual progress report on Tasmania’s greenhouse gas emissions, prepared by the Tasmanian Policy Exchange (TPE).

Congratulations to the team at Tasmanian Policy Exchange at UTAS for compiling an update on Tasmania’s emissions and the analysis which sits behind the numbers. If readers have not read it, I encourage you to do so.

The report highlights the progress other states are making to decarbonise the various segments of their economy and how other states like NSW, Victoria and South Australia have made more substantial reductions than Tasmania. Closing the most carbon intensive (coal) electricity generators will provide step change reductions which Tasmania does not have to or need to do.

As the report suggests, Tasmania is being overtaken by the other states in converting to renewable energy.

It is important to recognise those same states have built substantial new renewable energy generation. The Tasmanian Minerals, Manufacturing and Energy Council (TMEC) analysis shows in the last twenty years NSW added 12,700MW of renewables and Victoria added 5,000MW.

Embarrassingly, Tasmania added a mere 260MW of new renewables from wind farms and additional capacity in the form of roof top solar in the ten years. All this electricity is being used today – there is virtually no surplus electricity available in Tasmania for any commercial or industrial user.

For Tasmania to pick up the pace to decarbonise, as identified in the UTAS report, which means electricity and infrastructure to charge cars, electricity to run electrolysers to produce hydrogen and its derivates (methanol), electricity to electrify industrial processes (where the technology exists) it needs more electricity, and it needs it today.

As of today, TMEC’s forecasts show Tasmanian industry (existing and most advanced projects) will need year on year increases in new renewables with a target total of 1,150MW by 2031. Tasmania needs more than four times what it has built in the last ten years, and some of it is needed from 2026. Marinus will not be available in time for this.

Renewable electricity investors have $25 billion in potential projects for on and offshore locations in Tasmania. 

So, what is the problem?

For Tasmania to decarbonise, host communities to renewable projects will need to reconsider their positions, as do activist groups as do state and federal government departments who assess and approve projects.

Projects requiring extensive network upgrades are probably too expensive.

Ironically, the Tasmanian decarbonisation race is being stalled by the actions of people who are fiercely defending the status quo for their location.

No new renewables equal no decarbonisation; hence the status quo remains.

Without the green light for sustainable projects, the UTAS report for 2025, 2026 and beyond will only need the date changed, sadly the words will remain the same.

 

This Article is by Ray Mostogl
Ray is the CEO of TMEC and also a Director of HILT CRC – the Heavy Industry Low Carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre helping to take meaningful action on reducing carbon emissions in Australia and addressing climate change. 

 

Smarter

Decarbonisation is a complicated but essential transition in a fight that affects everyone in any part of the world…climate change. For Tasmania this affects the economy, people, and our global opportunity. Tasmania has been a leader and we should be helping the rest of the world decarbonise. 

Cleaner

Renewable energy is a critical part of the fight against climate change. Tasmania delivers these projects to the highest of standards and we’re currently one of few Net Zero jurisdictions in the world which means any product or energy created in Tasmania will start its life cleaner than anything made in most other parts of the world. We should be proud of that advantage.

Diverse

Great minds and diverse perspectives serve as a chance for more Tasmanians to be part of collective solutions and meaninful action. When we appreciate diverse views and look for common ground, we can ensure Tasmania stops falling behind. We must collaborate and work together.