Two friends of mine decided after many years of working to buy a large four-wheel-drive vehicle and caravan and travel around Australia. They had a great time exploring this vast continent, and the places where most people just couldn’t go. We caught up with them a few years into their travels when they were making their way around Tasmania.
A short time later, they told us that they had bought a llama farm and settled down with their spoodles in Sheffield. This town is famous in Australia for its dedication to steam engines. Geoffrey is in heaven maintaining, building, and driving the engines that have been his passion for decades. Nancy is a born organizer and is helping run SteamFest.
Tasmania is an island state off the south coast of Australia. It is the smallest state by size (90,000 sq km) and population (half a million). But it has big ideas. Some of its citizens may have one eye on the past, but successive governments are definitely pushing into the future.
Tasmania wants to move beyond net zero (achieved in 2015), past 100% renewables (achieved 2020), to being “The Battery of the Nation.” Tasmania is already 100% self-sufficient in hydro and wind power. The aim now is to expand the wind farms to become an electricity supplier to the mainland. The Tasmanian government has enacted legislation to ensure 200% renewable energy generation by 2040 — the excess to be exported to Victoria via a cable link (www.marinuslink.com.au). Australia is going to need a lot of electric cars and industry to soak up the massive amounts of power to be generated by projects like this in the pipeline.
On the subject of EVs, Tasmania is investing in new chargers, especially at tourist spots. The government has set aside $600,000 for its ChargeSmart Grants Program. Councils, community groups, and local businesses can apply for grants to put in EV chargers. That could mean 240 destination chargers. Tasmania has around 340 electric vehicles on the road, or one for every 1,599 people as of 21 Apr, 2021. Are we heading for a situation where there will be more chargers than cars?
Tasmania has introduced a stamp duty waiver, which saves consumers $2000 on the purchase of an EV. A local company has established itself in Tasmania importing second-hand Leafs from Japan. There is no shortage of demand.
Well done, Tassie, for showing us what is beyond net zero, and even beyond 100% renewable. Geoffrey will be happy using renewable energy to build his steam engines.
Featured image courtesy of Tasmanian Networks Pty Ltd