Carbon neutral target part of response to climate change

1 May 2008

Hydro Tasmania has set a target of becoming Australia’s first carbon neutral generator by 2012 as part of its strategic response to the challenges of climate change.

The commitment was announced by Premier Paul Lennon at today’s opening of the new home for Hydro Tasmania Consulting at Cambridge – the first in the State to be awarded the five-star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of Australia.

Hydro Tasmania is also targeting the development of an additional 1000 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of capability from the existing Tasmanian system with projects totalling more than $400 million in value over the next 12 years already identified. Currently the system generates around 9000 GWh.

The 1000 GWh project is the result of the ongoing pressure of the drought on the Tasmanian hydro system and the need to maximise the renewable energy capability of that system to deliver long-term value to Hydro Tasmania and its shareholders – the people of Tasmania.

CEO Vince Hawksworth said the announcements today formed just part of Hydro Tasmania’s climate change response strategy.

“Climate change is a reality and present many challenges for governments, businesses and communities around the world,” Mr Hawksworth said.

“It is also a key strategic issue for Hydro Tasmania as it presents a significant risk to our business as a generator of hydropower with the ongoing drought seeing our storages now standing at less than 19 per cent full.

“While Hydro Tasmania has recognised the potential impact of climate change for many years, as the evidence mounted it was important that the business had a clear strategic response.

“Our response plan places Hydro Tasmania at the forefront of world’s best practice in responding to climate change and puts us on the pathway to becoming Australia’s first carbon neutral energy generator.”

Recent figures show that Hydro Tasmania emitted 642,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide last financial year, largely through Bell Bay Power Station gas generation.

The task to reduce that to zero will be achieved by a combination of:

  • Decommissioning Bell Bay as soon as its critical role in supporting Tasmanian supply is complete – hopefully as early as 2009 with the arrival of the new Tamar Valley Power Station
  • Energy reduction and fuel substitution initiatives such as fleet replacement, energy efficiency and Bass Strait Island renewable energy projects, many of which are already underway.
  • Offsetting emissions from staff flights, the Consulting business and the vehicle fleet.

 

Mr Hawksworth said achieving the 2012 target would provide Hydro Tasmania with:

  • A competitive advantage in green energy markets;
  • An influential voice in external policy debates; and
  • Capacity to promote the business and the state of Tasmania as a leader in climate change action.

 

The 1000 Gwh project is looking at enhancement projects such as:

  • Catchment diversions & diversion upgrades
  • Raising existing storages
  • Mini-hydro schemes
  • New power station development or redevelopment of existing power stations.

 

Mr Hawksworth said with projects totaling more than $400 million in value over the next 12 years having been identified there were clearly significant opportunities to further secure the State’s energy supply even if not all will be developed.

“What the 1000 Gigawatt hour project shows is how we are responding to the challenges of climate change,” he said.

Other initiatives being pursued by Hydro Tasmania in response to climate change include:

  • Offsetting emissions from staff flights
  • Substituting carbon intensive fuels such as diesel on King Island
  • The purchase of fuel efficient hybrid vehicles
  • Internal programs to increase car sharing and pooling among staff.
  • Pricing carbon into investment decisions and purchasing practices.
  • Conducting energy audit and efficiency improvements in existing office buildings
  • Installing renewable energy on the Bass Strait islands.
  • Continuing to provide policy leadership in national climate change issues, including the design and implementation of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target and Australian Emissions Trading Scheme.

 


Further Information:

Hydro Tasmania - Helen Brain, 6230 5746