Is a transmission line required for the Renewable Energy Parks? Where will it go?
A transmission line is required to connect the Renewable Energy Parks to the Tasmanian electricity network. Planning with TasNetworks has started, including exploring a potential route from Robbins Island to Hampshire.
Our current plan for the new transmission line includes:
- Cables laid in the bridge from Robbins Island to mainland Tasmania
- Cables connect to an overhead transmission line that continues to Jim’s Plain substation
- A transmission line that connects the Jim’s Plain substation to TasNetworks’ infrastructure at Hampshire
The transmission line route is being determined through studies and consultation with affected landowners, stakeholders and planning authorities.
The final route will be subject to consultation, a review of environmental impacts and planning approvals.
Visit the transmission line page for more information.
How is the route for the transmission line determined?
We’re undertaking studies and consulting with affected landowners, stakeholders and planning authorities.
The final route will be subject to consultation and planning approvals. We are sharing information along the way.
What we consider when planning the route:
- Built up and sensitive areas: areas where people live and have property
- Public and reserved land: reserved land, timber production areas and forests
- Vegetation and threatened species: flora and fauna, vegetation communities and environmentally protected species
- Planning zones: planning schemes - relevant zones and overlays
Why is the transmission line going to Hampshire?
TasNetworks is planning a new transmission line from Hampshire to Staverton to support a number of their network developments. As a result, we’re focusing only on developing a transmission line from Robbins Island to Hampshire.
What about the proposed second Bass Strait interconnector?
A second Bass Strait interconnector - Marinus Link - is crucial to deliver electricity generated from Hydro Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation project to the electricity grid, as well as from other renewable energy developers in Tasmania.
It would also enable full development of the Robbins Island Renewable Energy Park (Jim’s Plain and stage 1 of Robbins Island are not dependent upon Marinus Link).
Marinus Link is currently being planned to be built by 2028.
What are your key considerations in selecting the route?
We’re guided by four principles to ensure we meet our needs and the needs of the community and our stakeholders. They are:
- Avoiding areas of high environmental and heritage significance
- Minimising the impact on private landowners by using Crown land and corporate land wherever possible
- Working with landowners to identify the best route through their land to limit the impact on current and future business practices and plans
- Minimising the impact on visual amenity
How will you minimise the transmission line views for nearby residents?
This is a key component of our transmission line route selection process.
We’ll work closely with affected stakeholders to talk about and plan the transmission line route. We’ll also look at a range of measures including screening or alternate route selection.
How many transmission towers will be built?
About 245 towers will be built along the 115-kilometre transmission line route (from Robbins Island to Hampshire).
Each tower will be about 400-450 metres apart on average, with some spans up to 1.2 kilometres.
How high will the towers be?
The towers will be about 45 to 55 metres high depending on the terrain.
What will the impacts be on forestry and logging?
In areas where the transmission line crosses forestry land, logging will no longer be able to occur within the 60-metre transmission line easement however the easement can be used for access.
Will local businesses be involved in the construction of the transmission line?
We’re receiving registrations of interest from members of the community and businesses that would like to be involved in the construction and ongoing operation of the transmission line. Register your interest here.
The local community will also be crucial in providing accommodation, food and other services to the construction workforce.
What employment opportunities will be available?
The construction of the transmission line is likely to involve up to 100 people over an 24-month construction period.
The Renewable Energy Parks are an up to $1.5 billion investment in the Circular Head region and Tasmania. There’ll be many opportunities for local businesses and the community to get involved.
Our projects will create employment, with up to 400 people needed for construction. At full development, an operational workforce of up to 65 people will be needed. Goods and services likely to be sourced locally during construction and operation of the projects include:
- Accommodation and catering
- Construction materials and equipment
- Fencing and landscaping
Will the transmission line create television interference?
No. Transmission lines do not create television interference.
What is the transmission line approval process?
The transmission line will require the following approvals:
- Development application (DA) approval will be required from three councils: Circular Head, Waratah-Wynyard, and Burnie. The DAs will need to consider a number of issues including land tenure, environment, heritage and visual impacts
- The transmission line will also require Tasmanian Government approval under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 and Australian Government approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
How will eagles be affected by the transmission line?
We understand there are community concerns about the safety of the eagles and local bird life along the transmission line route. We have started field studies to understand the potential impacts to eagles.
Regulations will be followed as part of the development application process and the studies will comply with Tasmanian and Australian Government requirements.
We’re committed to looking at innovative ways to protect eagles.
What’s the potential for lightning strikes?
Transmission towers are earthed and are protected against lightning strikes. This means that in the event of a lightning strike hitting a tower it will be safely conducted to ground, unlike lightning strikes to trees that can lead to a fire.
Do transmission lines cause fires?
No. Well designed and well maintained transmission lines present a very low fire risk. Where electricity infrastructure has caused fires, it has typically been from low voltage distribution lines or old poorly maintained equipment. We’ll ensure the transmission line is designed and maintained to minimise fire risk.
Will the transmission line be used as a firebreak?
Yes. As the easement surrounding the transmission line will be cleared it will act as a firebreak. It will also provide access to neighbouring properties during a fire.
Who is developing the transmission line?
UPC Robbins Island is developing the transmission line. UPC Robbins Island is 25% Australian owned. Our remaining 75% is passive ownership by shareholders from the USA, Europe and the Philippines. Our development team working on this project is 100% Australian, all based in Tasmania. The team has more than 100 years of combined renewable energy development experience.
Who pays for the transmission line?
We’ll pay for the transmission line infrastructure required to connect to the electricity network.
Are submarine and/or underground options viable for the transmission line?
We’ve looked at options to put the transmission line underground or undersea. These options would be so costly they would make the projects uneconomic.
Initial cost estimates for submarine and underground transmission options are around $1.5 - $2 billion. It can cost up to 10 times more for a submarine or underground line than an overhead line.
Underground lines also have unique environmental challenges and still require vegetation clearance for construction. In addition, the easement needs to remain cleared for future access. Technically, underground transmission lines require above ground facilities along the length of the line and access points to cable joints as these are common sources of failure. The access points would be a few kilometres apart.
Can you use the existing transmission lines?
The Renewable Energy Parks will generate a significant amount of electricity.
The existing transmission lines (Woolnorth-Smithton and Smithton-Burnie) within the region don’t have the capacity to cater for our projects and are in fact already at capacity.
Who owns the land where the transmission line and towers are going to be built?
As a general rule, landowners retain ownership of the land where transmission towers and lines are located.
We’ll negotiate and agree with landowners on what activities can and can’t take place in the easement (the area surrounding a transmission tower or line) for both parties. This ensures the transmission line and towers are safely constructed, inspected, maintained and operated.
We’ll also provide compensation to a landowner for use of the easement, as well as an additional payment if an easement includes a transmission tower(s). This could be a one-off payment or an annual rental.
If a landowner doesn’t want a transmission tower or line on their land, we’ll seek alternative routes to accommodate these requests. We’ll always negotiate with landowners in good faith to arrive at an agreed outcome.
Will the transmission line go through the Tarkine?
No. The Tarkine is roughly defined as the area between the west coast of Tasmania, the Arthur River to the north, the Pieman River to the south and the Murchison Highway to the east.
The proposed transmission line is outside the area defined above, as it is north of the Arthur River.
It should be noted that no universally accepted definition of the Tarkine currently exists and the area is not formally listed on National or World Heritage lists.
Will the transmission line go through any reserves?
We’ve tried to avoid all reserve areas as much as possible. However, a small portion of the line (about 2.7 kilometres) is planned to pass through the Pruana Regional Reserve (classified a Regional Reserve under the Nature Conservation Act 2002).
The Regional Reserve classification allows for mining and some forestry activities. The choice of this route has been made after careful consideration of the impacts to this area from this short route against the impacts from longer routes to the south and north of the reserve.