Tasmania’s Liberal government has promised to roll out a $200,000 solar and battery storage “microgrid” project in the state’s south-east, if it is re-elected in the March 3 election.
The proposed project would see $150,000 worth of solar panels and battery storage installed across six residential aged-care units in Nubeena – a “sleepy, scenic village” near Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula, according to Discover Tasmania.
Another $50,000 would be put towards a study to investigate whether the project should be rolled out to other communities, reports said.
According to Premier Will Hodgman, who has also made an election promise to cut the island state’s ties with mainland energy pricing by removing it from the National Electricity Market, the Nubeena microgrid would work towards improving energy security in the state, particularly at the fringes of the grid.
In comments reported in the Hobart Mercury, Hodgman said the project also had the potential to deliver day to day savings on energy bills, and to provide more reliable communications during emergency situations such as bushfires.
Nubeena was one of the towns that was hit hardest by bush fires that ravaged the Tasman Peninsula in 2013, destroying – among other things – more than 400 power poles.
“A micro-grid system would provide a natural backup generator for Tasman residents and businesses, and mean that during peak demand there would continue to be a reliable energy supply,” Hodgman said.
“This is particularly important for an area that is tourism mecca in summer when the population swells from around 2000 up to 10,000.
“Importantly, in the regular day to day, it means that locals can save on their power bills by tapping into the benefits of this emerging technology.”
RenewEconomy contacted the office of the Tasmanian Premier for further detail and comment on the proposed scheme, but had not heard back at the time of publication. Updates to come.