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With continuing global climate change, caused largely by a reliance on fossil fuel and the emission of greenhouse gases, energy has become of one Tasmania’s most challenging areas of public policy. How we deal with energy issues will be central to Tasmania’s economic future, its environment and the welfare of its people. The situation is becoming one of great urgency.
Tasmania is in a position to take a leading role in new and emerging energy technologies, with the capacity to rapidly become a low-carbon state through the use of green-energy technologies. This will have the effect of minimising the state’s emissions and, simultaneously, taking economic advantage of changing circumstances. The Greens, in partnership with the private sector, will actively promote research into, and development of, renewable energy sources, in generation and distribution technologies, in alternative means of transmission, storage technologies, in energy efficiency programs to reduce our energy consumption and emissions, and to export the resultant technology.
The Greens have, therefore, set a target for all electricity generated in Tasmania to be derived from renewable sources before 2050. We oppose the privatisation of Hydro Tasmania’s electricity generating assets and will conduct a comprehensive risk analysis and audit to maximise the opportunities to retain Hydro Tasmania as a publicly controlled entity.
Previous government decisions, and recent policies in the Tasmanian energy sector, have substantially increased the risk of adverse outcomes for Hydro Tasmania, including financial difficulty. The major areas of concern are the risk of decreasing rainfall and snowfall, and Hydro Tasmania’s expansionist strategy, with the result that bulk power consumers may leave the state or insist that contracts be rewritten in terms less favourable to Tasmania.
Energy Efficiency: introduce incentives for consumers to adopt energy conservation measures; mandate energy rating systems for new commercial and residential buildings, and phase in energy rating systems for existing buildings; require bulk power users to implement energy efficiency programs as a prerequisite of contract renewal.
Meters: encourage the installation of Smart Meters in new homes and businesses, and in existing homes and businesses as current meters become obsolete, to offer greater incentives to conserve energy and opportunities to sell electricity into the grid; establish gross feed-in tariffs for producers of electricity made using benign renewable fuels.
Power Bills: restructure electricity billing to provide cost neutral and revenue neutral incentives to use less power; introduce further concessions and rebates on power costs for low income earners.
Transport: encourage more environmentally sustainable transport in Tasmania; encourage walking and cycling by better urban planning; investigate the suitability of a biofuels industry in Tasmania.
Business and Industry: encourage businesses whose production methods or products use net non-emission, benign and/or renewable energy.
Natural Gas: take advantage of Tasmania’s major opportunity to use natural gas as a transition fuel.
Wind Power: support wind-power schemes where appropriate.
Wood-fired Power Stations: oppose the burning of native forests for fuel for industrial scale furnaces or power stations.
Solar Power: encourage the adoption of solar power generation.
Nuclear Power: reject the generation or use of nuclear power within the state, and the storage in Tasmania of nuclear waste created elsewhere.