The drought has created access issues for recreational users of Hydro Tasmania’s storages. During 2008/09 we developed an access plan in conjunction with the Inland Fisheries Service, Marine and Safety Tasmania and the Anglers Alliance. This plan provides clear guidelines and responsibilities for developing access ramps.
We are currently collaborating with several other stakeholders to develop protocols for environmental protection of the south-west World Heritage Area. These stakeholders include the Parks and Wildlife Service, Forestry Tasmania and the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources. In particular, protocols for managing weeds, roads, helicopter landings and fire were addressed.
The group of stakeholders collaborated with Greening Australia to develop road corridor management plan protocols and procedures for weeds and road maintenance in the World Heritage Area.
Hydro Tasmania received national recognition for its long-term land rehabilitation projects, when we received a ‘Highly commended’ award in the GRN Australasian Ecological Restoration Projects.
Our cultural heritage program helps us retain the cultural and Aboriginal heritage values of our sites to the extent possible, and to improve how we manage these values.
Lake Margaret Power Station, built in 1914, and its two-kilometre wood-staved pipeline, have heritage values that the community respects and that Hydro Tasmania is protecting as part of the redevelopment of the site. The ongoing site management plans include a heritage assessment.
Similarly, we are protecting the heritage values of the Catagunya Dam by replacing the corroded post-tensioned cables that support the dam wall. The dam was the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere and was the highest dam of this type in the world when it was constructed in 1962.
We also undertook predictive modelling of Aboriginal heritage values on Hydro Tasmania’s land to help us protect Aboriginal heritage on our sites.
Climate change, and the need to mitigate the global impact of this change in the future, has significant implications for Hydro Tasmania’s business.
The Climate Futures modelling indicates that long-term climate impacts on water resources in Tasmania are likely to reduce inflows and increase variability. This poses a significant risk for Hydro Tasmania. We have already de-rated our system’s long-term capacity to generate electricity due to recent climatic conditions of a reduction of average water inflows of over 10 per cent compared to the historical long-term average.
On the other hand, if a market for carbon is established, Hydro Tasmania is likely to see increased value of its current renewable energy generation portfolio and will have opportunities to assist efforts to reduce our national carbon emissions. There are likely to be further business opportunities as customers are increasingly interested in a broader range of products and services, as well as increased incentives for developing more renewable generation capacity.
Our climate change response strategy contributes to global and national efforts to reduce carbon emissions. We will review the strategy in 2009/10 due to the changing reporting requirements and regulatory environment.
Climate Change Response Strategy
Our aim is to be Australia’s first carbon neutral generator by 2012. The strategy has several elements:
- advocating for a favourable climate change legislative and regulatory framework
- developing additional renewable energy
- developing products and services to help customers meet their climate change mitigation obligations
- reducing our own carbon footprint.
Advocating for a favourable climate change framework
Hydro Tasmania strongly supports the federal government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) and the Renewable Energy Target (RET). In particular, we strongly believe that the following steps are critical for the development of Australian’s renewable energy market:
- the immediate introduction of a carbon emissions trading scheme to ensure the full cost of carbon is built into all investment decisions
- a stringent emissions cap on carbon emissions that reflects the views of the international scientific community on what is required to avoid dangerous climate change, and ensures that the costs of reducing emissions is spread across the whole economy
- the retention of a renewable energy target until the carbon price alone supports renewable energy development
- the extension of the proposed renewable energy target of 45 000 GWh per year to 2020
- the establishment of the target for renewable energy to meet 20 per cent of Australia’s energy demand by 2030.
For example, extending the renewable energy target and pricing carbon into investment decisions would immediately enhance the business case for new renewable energy projects, such as those being considered by Roaring 40s.