Remarks at the opening of the Thunderbolt Power Station, Ouse, Tasmania

Media release

31 October 2019

E&OE

ANGUS TAYLOR: What a beautiful location, what a cracking project, and what an extraordinary achievement. This is really very special to see.

One of the best parts of my job is I get to go and look at hydro projects. Which means I go to some of the most beautiful places in Australia, and this is one of them.

But it's actually special to me personally. I grew up as a hydro kid. I grew up in a house which was too old hydro shacks, if you like, that were out in a place very similar to this. They moved to a farm where I grew up, and we lived in that house until I was 14.

My grandfather, at the time, was the Commissioner of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, right through the construction period, and so I got to go to the most incredible locations, just like this one, to see extraordinary projects but more importantly extraordinary people.

What Eric talked about, the people that have contributed to hydro over the years in this country are a very, very special group of people.

Many of them have come from overseas.

Eric's family, and my family came over from New Zealand to work on Snowy scheme.

So, it is a real privilege for me to be here.

Now, it is no secret we're facing some very real challenges in our electricity grid today.

We are seeing an enormous investment going on right across the east coast of Australia, and in Tassie, in solar and wind, but the challenge is we need balancing investment in dispatchable baseload power.

To fix that problem, to address it, and to make sure that we have affordable, reliable power in this country we need to harness all of our resources, all of our resources.

If we don't we are all going to pay more for our bills, but perhaps worse still, businesses like agricultural businesses that use a lot of energy to pump water, businesses like Bell Bay - where I am off to after this - those businesses won't survive without affordable, reliable power.

That means we have to have a good balance of dispatchable baseload power like we get from this project.

Now, essentially, we're going to have to harness all of our resources to solve this problem in the coming years.

First of all, that's our natural resources because we'll be harnessing our natural resources in solar and wind, but we've got to harness the natural resources, not just the solar and wind, coal and gas, but we have oodles of it here in Australia but also water.

That's exactly what this project is doing. 900 kilowatts. I'm told it's a little more than 3.5 gigawatts when it really gets going. I'm sure the engineers will be pushing it hard over the coming years, but that's a really important contribution to the grid and harnessing our resources in that way.

But we also have to harness our community businesses and seeing this team and the different bits of it, not only Nigel and Josh but the financiers and the equipment suppliers, local, fantastic to see - all that and the others who have played a role along the way, and I know these projects involve a very broad network of people, they know to succeed including local councillors and the Federal Government. I'm very proud of the role we've played - $588,000 we contributed to this project.

But at the end of the day, the real energy for this project comes from that core team. The entrepreneurship, the innovation that we've seen, actually, it often comes off farm, interestingly, that farming background. Most farmers are actually engineers at heart - but that human resource side of this project in many ways is the most impressive piece.

So, well done - congratulations.

We need to repeat this many times over.

So, keep going please.

[Laughter]

I'm sure you're feeling pretty exhausted. But let's celebrate this one and then let's talk about the next one that you'll do after that.

Well done. Well done all of you.

I do want to point out to families too, by the way, because I know when entrepreneurs and innovators put their heads down and go, to some extent, the family has to wear it, and I think both of you mentioned that.

But thank you for the support you've given, and I really look forward to seeing the work coming through and the power coming out and prices coming down.

So well done.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction