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TasNetworks - Rushy Lagoon/Waterhouse Windfarm

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Friday, 2 December 2022

Tags: TasNetworks, Wind Farms

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, the Rushy Lagoon/Waterhouse windfarm project was declared a major project this August, but we cannot find details available about the transmission corridor that is proposed. Can you please tell me where it will run, and whether it would have the same 90 metre clearance as the proposed Robbins Island transmission corridor? Does it run through reserve land, existing reserve land or farmland? Does it need to acquire land from landowners and get changes to the tenure of reserve land? Those sorts of issues.

Mr BARNETT - It is a good question. It is important to be aware that this particular project is not a TasNetworks project, but ACEN Australia's, as you referred to. It is in excess of 1200 megawatts, 210 turbines, and a very significant investment by ACEN Australia, outlined publicly at some $2.7 billion.

Yes, it will need access to the transmission network. I am advised it will generate up to 400 jobs during the peak of construction, and up to 65 jobs ongoing. It has been strongly welcomed by the Dorset mayor, Greg Howard, and the flow-on benefits for the local community.

As you have indicated, it is a project of state significance. That is in an area with the Deputy Premier and the Minister for Planning. We are pleased with the interest and confidence that has been expressed in access to a world-class wind resource. With respect to the transmission system, I will see if the CEO has anything further to add.

Mr Mc GOLDRICK - Just to say that like any generator proponent, we have an obligation under the national electricity rules, if the project reaches maturity, to connect them to our backbone network. We go through that process thoroughly, and it is a well-documented process. So, in due course, if and when this project arises, we will connect it to our transmission system as we are required to.

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you. Minister, do you want me to restate the question? Perhaps you didn't understand. What I am seeking to understand is where the transmission corridor will run, what the proposal is for where it will run, whether any assessments have been started on the impact to reserves and communities along the way? Has that work started, or is this all very much not even anything drawn on a piece of paper?

Mr BARNETT - These are questions that I am not sure are directly relevant to TasNetworks in the last financial year. They are absolutely relevant to the proponent, ACEN Australia. Their submission to the Minister for Planning and Deputy Premier has been received and accepted. Those questions are best put to ACEN Australia.

Dr WOODRUFF - Could I please finish that please, Chair?

CHAIR - Yes, Dr Woodruff.

Dr WOODRUFF - The Robbins Island transmission corridor has a 90-metre-wide corridor, and that was the first question I asked. This is a TasNetworks question. In discussions this year, has the proponent been in discussions with TasNetworks about the width of the corridor, and the proposed place of the corridor?

Mr BARNETT - I will pass to the CEO in one moment, but the short answer is this was announced many months ago as a project of state significance by the Deputy Premier and Minister for Planning. There is an outline of the extent of the project in terms of more than 1200 megawatts, 210 turbines, and $2.7 billion investment. This is going to take significant amount of time in development, planning and environmental approvals.

With respect to certain conversations that may or may not have been had with TasNetworks, I can't answer that, but I will refer to the CEO.

Mr Mc GOLDRICK - Again, this is a matter for the proponent. The actual connection at the point of backbone connection is a matter for TasNetworks. If there is any requirement to alter assets, it'll be carried out with respect to our standard approach. We have standards on how that will be carried out, and with the easement what voltage and so on. That will follow our standard process. Everything else is a decision with respect to a proposal from the proponent and consideration by the relevant approvals and approving authorities. It's not a matter for TasNetworks in the first instance.

Dr WOODRUFF - They haven't contacted you about the width of a transmission corridor? No conversations with you at all?

Mr McGOLDRICK - The conversations we've had are in line with conversations we would have with many different generators or load proponents about their projects and what is happening and when it might come to what point in our network. We carry out conversations on that basis almost every day of the week with lots of proponents. We carry those out in confidence because projects come, projects go, projects withdraw, projects mature fast or slow, so with a range of different proponents we're always in contact. It's part of the whole connections process that we, as the jurisdictional planner and regional operator, are obliged to do under the national electricity rules.