Australia’s Marinus Link interconnector project inches forward following new reports

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The release this week of the Business Case Assessment and Project Assessment Draft Report for Marinus Link by TasNetworks has shown that the project – a proposed additional interconnector between Tasmania and Victoria – would provide economic advantages to Australia that would far outweigh the expected costs.

The proposed Marinus Link is a 1,500 MW second undersea interconnector that would help to deliver renewable energy from Tasmania to Victoria to help stabilize the national grid.

“A more interconnected grid is a more efficient and reliable grid,” said Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon. “Interconnection between markets provides greater flexibility, better reliability and can deliver more affordable electricity for customers.”

Tasmania is shaping itself up to become the battery of the nation. The Battery of the Nation Project (BON) seeks to help free up the bunged-up pipeline of solar and wind in Victoria by supplying Tasmania’s abundant storage resources.

“Victoria will need to access significant energy storage to ensure they can meet their renewable energy targets while keeping the power system reliable,” said Hydro Tasmania CEO Steve Davy. “Tasmania has idle capacity waiting to be unlocked by market signals and delivered through the additional interconnection required by Battery of the Nation.”

BON also seeks to modernize Tasmania’s existing hydropower plants to better tailor them to the solar and wind generation upon which Australia’s future electricity system will depend. As the Hydro Tasmania report itself states: “Modernizing hydropower stations and optimize them to generate more electricity at times when wind and solar are scarce, and generate less when those sources are abundant.”

BON also seeks to increase its flexible capacity with pumped hydro energy storage. Tasmania’s undulating topography gives it a geographic advantage for pumped hydro.

“Tasmania also has significant potential for the development of new, low-cost, long-duration pumped hydro storage, offering the firming Victoria’s future energy mix requires,” Davy said.

“With the rise of variable solar and wind generation, unlocking the hydro capacity of Tasmania to store and generate electricity will help keep the lights on and businesses running;” added Dillon.

It is estimated that the Marinus Link and supporting transmission could unlock the backlog of investment in renewable energy and long-duration energy storage development with an estimated value of up to AUD 5.7 billion ($3.9 billion) and 2,350 jobs.

By Blake Matich