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Energy Crisis: Best interests of Tasmania

Opinion by Ray Mostogl CEO, TMEC

Tasmania’s population and economy must be growing as what else explains the 382GWh
(Gigawatt hour) growth in electricity consumption reflected in the Energy in Tasmania reports
(2018/19 and 2021/22) from the Office of the Economic Regulator (OTER). New wind farms and
solar installations have provided 123GWh of growth in electricity over the same period, so the
headline and convenient narrative says the gap between supply and demand has widened. The
terms, “finely balanced” and “rainfall constrained” are often used.

Ray Mostogl, the CEO of the Tasmanian Minerals, Manufacturing and Energy Council (TMEC)
representing the industrial and manufacturing energy consumers remains concerned with some
facts being withheld from this public debate.

“What is less obvious is why would Hydro Tasmania reduce the amount of electricity it has generated with its hydro and gas generation assets over the same time frame? In fact, 555GWh less electricity was generated. If Hydro Tasmania produced what it used to, together with the new solar and wind, the state should have 678GWh available for the same hydrological risk profile it had in 2018/19. While this is certainly not going to support a major new industrial load, it equates to a 75MW block of electricity which could assist a medium energy-intensive business to establish itself here, employing more Tasmanians in high-skilled / high-paid jobs or for existing businesses to pursue decarbonisation plans by swapping out fossil fuel energy with renewable electricity. Lots of upside – surely?”.

“Noting a 75MW of firmed (available 24/7) block of electricity is equivalent to 250-300MW
intermittent wind or solar generation.”

“The 75MW block potentially helps with the business case for a new wind or solar farm and could
be leveraged to make Tasmania a more attractive destination for investment”.

TMEC does not buy “rainfall constrained” being some new phenomenon – when was Tasmania’s
electricity supply not rainfall constrained. Every hydro storage system in the world is constrained
by its catchment area and rainfall. “There is nothing to see here folks!”

The energy roundtable, which Premier Rockliff and Energy Minister Barnett at the time
outlined last year, may be an appropriate forum for this decision to be shared and TMEC looks
forward to seeing this manifest. Of course, the public should be aware of decisions that seek to
optimise GBE revenue, emissions, employment, and overall economic benefits and while the
intricacies of the electricity market with its GWh, firmed, intermittent, etc can often lose people,
there are enough in our community who do understand, and the decisions being made do warrant
better transparency.