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Tasmania aims for 100% renewable energy by 2020

BY 2020 Tasmania's electricity demands can be met by renewable energy, with surplus clean power exported to other states.

The target is outlined in Climate Smart Tasmania, the State Government's climate strategy released yesterday. "One of the biggest advantages we have is we have this fantastic hydro resource," Climate Change Minister Cassy O'Connor said. "We are powered nearly 90 per cent by green hydro power." Ms O'Connor said new wind farms and the increasing use of solar power would help wean the state off the "dirty brown coal power imported from Victoria".

She unveiled Climate Smart Tasmania amid solar panels on the roof of the Australian Taxation Office in Hobart. She described the strategy as "the most comprehensive plan by any Australian government to reduce carbon emissions and help communities adapt to a changing climate".

It outlined more than 80 recommendations. Significant areas of reform included constraining urban growth, carbon-smart farming, public transport changes such as the introduction of light rail and replacement of the Metro bus fleet, changing travel behaviour and introducing high energy ratings in buildings. The aim was to bring down Tasmanian emissions to 35 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, with the ultimate goal of 60 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

The strategy said Tasmanian emissions differed from the national profile, with agriculture, industry and transport being major sources, rather than energy generation. Between 1989 and 2010, emissions declined about 34 per cent, largely because of reforestation of land cleared before 1990 as well as changes to the international accounting methods used.

Ms O'Connor said the challenge was to keep making reductions as the economy and population grew. She said in 2011-12, the Government reduced its emissions by almost 13 per cent and it had invested almost $18 million in three years to provide 9500 energy efficiency upgrades for low-income earners and small business.

Tasmanian Climate Action Council chairwoman Lesley Hughes said the strategy was "a shining beacon to all the other states of Australia and the Federal Government". The Tasmanian Climate Change Office would monitor and report on the climate strategy's success.

Source: Heyward, P 2013, 'State Government releases Climate Smart Tasmania, saying the state's electricity demands can be met by renewable energy', The Mercury, 27 November, p1, viewed 29 November 2013

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