Office of Energy, Planning and Conservation
This Report to the Minister for Infrastructure, Energy and Resources is required under Section 13 of the Energy Co-ordination and Planning Act 1995
The Office of Energy Planning and Conservation has now been successfully integrated into the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources. Responsibility for regulation of the electricity supply industry has been transferred to an independent regulator and responsibility for safety regulation has been transferred to the Department's Workplace Standards Tasmania branch.
This has meant that the role of the Office over the year has been predominantly in the provision of policy advice on energy issues and the development of a regulatory framework for the gas supply industry in readiness for the introduction of natural gas to the State. These changes have meant that I have continued to undertaken my duties as Director on a part-time basis.
During the year, several large energy proposals entered into their final planning approval stages or received planning approval. These included the Basslink project, Duke Energy's Tasmanian natural pipeline project, Hydro Tasmania's West Coast wind farm project as well as projects involving the generation of electricity from biomass.
Continued facilitation of the introduction of natural gas to Tasmania has been a primary focus of the Office over the year. The Office developed legislation and regulations covering transmission, distribution, and retailing activities in the gas supply industry, as well as safety and natural gas appliances and equipment. This legislation repealed most of the existing legislation in the State relating to the town gas supply industry.
The Office has also worked closely with the Department of State Development (DSD) and other Government departments on the facilitation of a gas retail market in the State. This has involved participating in the Government's process for the preparation of a tender to select a gas distributor and a gas retailer.
The Basslink project is now in the environmental approvals stage. The Office continued to assist the Department of Treasury and Finance (DoTaF) in preparing for Tasmania's entry into the National Electricity Market once Basslink is completed.
Greenhouse has continued to be a major issue driving energy policy in both the Australian and Tasmanian contexts. The Office has liaised closely with the Commonwealth over the development and implementation of Commonwealth renewable energy programs designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the development of Australia's renewable energy industry.
This included continued negotiations with the Commonwealth and other State Government on the design and implementation of a number of Commonwealth Government energy-related greenhouse gas reduction policy initiatives, including amendments to the regulations under the mandated renewable energy target and the remote renewable power generation program and the development of a national greenpower scheme.
While the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPaC) has responsibility for greenhouse policy in Tasmania, the Office is frequently called upon to provide expert advice on greenhouse issues, particularly in the energy area. The Office has also continued to work closely with the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment in the implementation of greenhouse policies in Tasmania. The Office also represents the State on a number of national greenhouse-related bodies.
I would like to thank my staff for their support throughout the year.
Office of Energy Planning and Conservation