Tasmania’s renewable energy sector gets boost with launch of REAP initiative

Image credit: Ben/stock.adobe.com

The Tasmanian Government has introduced a plan dubbed, “The Renewable Energy Approval Pathway (REAP),” aimed at streamlining the approvals process for new renewable energy projects.

Announced by Minister for Energy and Renewables Nick Duigan, the new program is set to expedite the ongoing expansion and rollout of major renewable energy initiatives.

Minister Duigan expressed enthusiasm about the initiative, stating, “The Renewable Energy Approval Pathway (REAP) will provide a pathway for projects, such as wind farms and transmission lines, through the Major Projects Assessment Process.”

The REAP initiative is a crucial component of the Government’s Renewable Energy Coordination Framework, emphasising a comprehensive approach to address the growing demands of the sector.

A review conducted under the framework identified the need for a specialised pathway to navigate the Major Projects Assessment Process.

Key components of the REAP initiative include the establishment of a Major Renewable Energy Project case management team within the government.

This team, consisting of a dedicated case management officer in ReCFIT and a cross-agency team, aims to provide an integrated and coordinated pre-assessment process.

Additionally, the initiative seeks to develop definitive guidance on information requirements for major projects and coordinate a pre-assessment that considers a Reserve Activity Assessment and related assessment processes, parallel to major projects.

The government has also committed to supporting the REAP through various measures, including prioritising a bilateral assessment agreement for the Major Projects assessment pathway, establishing assessment protocols between the Tasmanian and Australian Governments to address regulatory delays, and progressing the establishment of a guideline on community benefit schemes specific to Tasmania.

Minister Duigan underscored the importance of a contemporary assessment process that aligns with community expectations while ensuring public involvement through consultation, exhibition processes, and public hearings.

“Opportunity for public involvement will continue to be provided through consultation and exhibition processes as well as public hearings,” the minister noted.

He affirmed the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to supporting Tasmanians by delivering new generation capacity, fostering economic growth, creating jobs, and maintaining the nation’s lowest power prices.