Tasmanian Government proposes first Renewable Energy Zone, setting a precedent for early community involvement

The Tasmanian Minister for Energy and Renewables has proposed a Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) in North West Tasmania. Having declared the North West region as the first area to be investigated for a Renewable Energy Zone in the state in 2022, the Tasmanian Government embarked on a detailed analysis of the region throughout 2023. 

Unlike any other state jurisdiction in Australia, Tasmania prioritised a community engagement program during their scoping and investigation phase conducting a social feasibility study through their innovative “Mapping Important Places” platform. This Australian first, asked locals to identify places important to them and places that could potentially host renewable energy projects, which was then considered in the planning of the REZ. This means that the first ‘lines on a map’ are already informed by local communities.

Community Power Agency is proud to have worked with Renewables, Climate and Future Industries Tasmania in developing the Guidelines for Community Engagement, Benefit Sharing and Local Procurement for renewables in Tasmania and commend their community centred approach to REZ planning.

Our Director, Kim Mallee, who co-authored the Guidelines says “It’s great to see a State Government putting community first in the REZ planning process and prioritising the social elements of doing renewables well. Of all the States, Tasmania understands the importance and value of maintaining social licence, and it’s clear they have designed their REZ planning process with this in mind.”

With the government this week announcing a proposed REZ area for the North West along with the latest round of community engagement  to accompany it,  we are excited to see the Tasmanian community and renewables industry contribute their thoughts on how to do renewables well.  Community Power Agency would encourage anyone with an interest in the North West or renewables in Tasmania to contribute to the three focus areas of REZ design currently being consulted:

  1. Proposed REZ area
  2. Community benefit sharing 
  3. Market offering and access scheme