Joint media release: Rewiring the Nation plugs in Marinus Link and Tasmanian jobs

Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia
The Hon Jeremy Rockliff MP, Premier of Tasmania
The Hon Guy Barnett, Tasmanian Minister for Energy and Renewables
The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy 

The Albanese Government’s first investments from the Rewiring the Nation plan, will fast-track critical Tasmanian projects to unlock cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy and put downward pressure on energy prices.

The Albanese and Rockliff Governments have today signed a Partnership to jointly fund the critical Marinus Link transmission project, delivering renewable energy generation and storage for the mainland through Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation projects, and unlocking the next wave of renewable energy development in Tasmania, attracting investment and jobs in the state.

The project comprises two under-sea transmission cables connecting Tasmania and Victoria. It will create 1,400 jobs in Tasmania during peak construction, 1,400 jobs in Victoria, and deliver up to $4.5 billion in positive net market benefits, including to electricity users. This Partnership will supercharge investment in Battery of the Nation, which is expected to deliver up to 670 direct jobs across Tasmania.

Marinus Link will cut at least 140 million tonnes of CO2 to 2050, the equivalent of taking approximately one million cars off the road.

Marinus has been in planning since 2016, and today’s agreement, less than six months since the federal election, overcomes major barriers and delivers substantial benefits to Tasmania and the mainland.

Tasmania and the Commonwealth have signed a letter of intent that includes:

  • Access to a concessional loan from Rewiring the Nation, through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for approximately 80 per cent of the project costs of Marinus Link, with the additional 20 per cent to be an equity investment shared equally between the Commonwealth, Victoria and Tasmania to get this critical project off the ground.
  • Up to $1 billion of low-cost debt from Rewiring the Nation for Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation projects, including Tarraleah Power Station redevelopment and Lake Cethana  Pumped Hydro.
  • Low-cost debt to link Cressy, Burnie, Sheffield, Staverton and Hampshire in Tasmania, known as the North West Transmission Developments (NWTD), which will increase the capacity of the network in Tasmania.

This low-cost financing from Rewiring the Nation will reduce the annual costs of Project Marinus to electricity customers by up to half.

Rewiring the Nation financing to support eligible Battery of the Nation and grid firming projects will put regional Tasmanian jobs at the heart of the energy transformation and support reliability across the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The NWTD projects will ensure Tasmania and the mainland reap the benefits of one of the world’s best wind energy resources located in North-West Tasmania, delivering jobs and cheaper power across not only Tasmania, but the broader NEM.

The Commonwealth, Tasmanian and Victorian Governments have reached this landmark partnership following months of cooperative and constructive work on key energy reforms, demonstrating what federal leadership can achieve. This partnership also provides a pathway through regulatory barriers with an agreement to pursue a change to a National Electricity Law rule change to support its implementation.

Australia’s electricity grid is changing rapidly, but the urgent upgrade of the grid has been stalled for years – today’s announcement is the first big step to turning that around.

Marinus Link is crucial to deliver Tasmania’s 200 per cent renewable energy target by supercharging Hydro Tasmania and renewable energy development in Tasmania more broadly and unlocking new investment in green hydrogen and offshore wind.

The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) Integrated Systems Plan is the roadmap for Australia’s future grid – and Rewiring the Nation investments are guided by this blueprint to ensure the right projects are built at the right time.

Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese:

“Rewiring the Nation has always been about jobs in new energy industries, delivering cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy, and bringing down emissions – today it begins doing just that. 

“An electricity grid built for the 21st century is absolutely critical, but until the election in May there was no plan to deliver, let alone to do so at lowest cost for consumers.”

Quotes attributable to Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff:

“This is the next economic frontier for Tasmania, and will not only create jobs and investment, but help our State to decarbonise so that families, households and businesses, both big and small, can benefit.

“This partnership provides much needed certainty for the project and a clear pathway to Final Investment Decision in late 2024.

“It secures Tasmania’s future through increased confidence for our energy companies, for developers about their investment decisions, and greater certainty of supply for affordable, reliable and clean energy that benefits all Tasmanians.”

Quotes attributable to Chris Bowen, Minister for Climate Change and Energy:

“After more than six years of the federal Coalition dragging their feet on Marinus Link, the Albanese Government is thrilled to take this critical step with Tasmania after just six months.

“Today’s announcement shows what can happen when you have the states and the Commonwealth working together on energy policy focused on people not politics.

“Australia can and should be a renewable energy superpower – Tasmania, the national leader in renewables, is a critical part of that jobs opportunity.”

Quotes attributable to Tasmanian Minister for Energy and Renewables Guy Barnett:

“Importantly, equitable cost sharing arrangements between the Commonwealth, Tasmania and Victoria have been agreed, meaning that Tasmanian consumers will only pay their fair share.

“This low cost financing from Rewiring the Nation will reduce the annual cost of Project Marinus for electricity customers by up to half. By working together, we have been able to achieve a solution that will see, once Marinus Link is built, Tasmanian customers to pay no more than 15% of estimated total project costs across both the Marinus Link and North-West Transmission Developments.

"This will ensure their electricity bills will be lower than they otherwise would be in a world without Marinus Link. These projects are also complementary to our green Hydrogen plans.

“If Tasmania is to support and attract new industrial and manufacturing industries to our State and support our transition to electrification, we will need more green energy. Marinus will deliver that.

“The Project will still need to pass a Final Investment Decision in late 2024, but the design and approvals phase of Project Marinus continues at pace as other elements of the Project, like securing federal and state planning and environmental approvals and conducting tender processes, are progressed.”