The Australian has an article on efforts to power Tasmania entirely with renewable energy - Green dream within reach.
According to a report for the Council of Australian Governments, while most states will suffer a loss to gross domestic product as a result of the 20 per cent mandatory renewable energy target and carbon pollution reduction scheme, they will add $580million to Tasmania's GDP by 2030.
Sydney-based geothermal power company KUTh Energy Ltd is one of many that sees Tasmania has a key to a global revolution in green energy. "We think this is a realistic play: to make Tasmania a completely green state, a totally renewable state, a showcase of renewables: wind, wave and geothermal," KUTh managing director David McDonald says. "It's a little bit like (California's) Silicon Valley creating the first microchip and becoming the centre of computer software. Tasmania will become a technology hub."
Geothermal exploration licences cover half the state. KUTh recently identified a hot rocks resource in the state's midlands independently assessed at 260,000 petajoules (a measure of heat stored at depth). "If you can extract just over 1 per cent of that, then that would have the capacity to generate about 300 megawatts of power for a 30-year period," McDonald says. "That 300mW of power is about 25 per cent of Tasmania's total power usage." He says 5 per cent to 6 per cent could be extracted, enough to power the entire state and export energy to mainland states via Basslink.
Hot rock energy generation involves pumping water at high pressure deep into the ground where it is heated to 180C by naturally hot granite rocks. It returns to the surface as steam, which turns turbines that generate the power. The water is returned to the ground in a closed-loop system that involves little water loss but that can provide a reliable, uninterrupted power supply. KUTh plans to develop an initial 1.5mW plant, scaling up to an $80m to $90m, 20 to 50mW plant.
In terms of wind, Roaring 40s is building a new 138mW wind farm at Musselroe, in the state's northeast, which it says will be able to meet the needs of 55,000 homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 300,000 tonnes a year. Roaring 40s, a joint venture between Hydro Tasmania and the China Light and Power Group, already has a 140mW wind farm at the state's northwest tip, at Woolnorth.
A 225mW wind farm is planned for the central highlands by US-based National Power. And local company Eco Energy Solutions plans a wind turbine assembly plant at Devonport as a forerunner to a $23m manufacturing plant. Employing 386 people, it would make a range of turbines for local use and export throughout Australasia, southeast Asia and the Pacific.
Offshore, a trial of wave and tidal power generation is being conducted by Sydney-based BioPower Systems near Flinders and King Islands in Bass Strait. The company has designed unique ocean equivalents of wind turbines, devices 20m to 25m long secured to the ocean floor that harness the power of waves and tide. ...
BioPower chief executive Tim Finnigan says analysis suggests Tasmania has the potential to generate 500mW through tide and wave, to be exported interstate. "Tasmania is perfect: on the west coast you've got world-class waves, among the best in the world, and through the Banks Strait and Flinders Island network you have very strong tidal flow," Finnigan says. "Tasmania has a great outlook on uptake of renewables."
While the trials - both 250 kilowatts - are under way, the company will prepare the groundwork and approval permits to build large-scale commercial generation wave and tide power farms of up to 50 1mW turbines. "It's a staged process building to 30mW to 50mW - when we get to that scale the economics start to compete directly with wind," he said.
Hydro Tasmania is also exporting its expertise to the world, including a recent $1.3m project to conduct feasibility studies for four projects in Sarawak.