TasWind would provide community benefits through job creation and economic stimulus, attract industry to King Island, enhance existing infrastructure, provide payments for use of land and promote the King Island brand.
Hydro Tasmania engaged e3 Planning (a consulting firm that has been involved in numerous projects on King Island including the Scheelite Mine and King Island Dairy) to undertake a preliminary assessment of the costs and benefits of TasWind to the King Island economy. The assessment identified that the TasWind project would bring, among other things:
- total economic returns to King Island over the life of the project of between $255 and $310 million
- between $7m-$8.9m of ongoing economic benefit per year, including direct payments of $3-4 million
- upgrades to infrastructure such as a fibre-optic cable and shipping facilities
- an increase in long-term employment on the island: 45 – 60 full-time direct and indirect jobs
- an education program to benefit King Island’s next generation
- business and employment benefits
- the potential to leverage brand benefits.
Download the report: Preliminary Socio-impact Assessment, TasWind King Island, Tasmania (PDF 1.6 MB).
The findings of this assessment need to be developed further with input from the King Island community.
The TasWind Consultative Committee commissioned its own economic study, to review the list of economic benefits and costs for King Island contained within the e3 Planning report, and provide a snapshot of the economic forecast for King Island with and without wind towers for the short and long term. Read this economic report here.
Hydro Tasmania estimates there will be direct payments of approximately $3–4m per year.
Hydro Tasmania will pay land-owners with wind turbines and/ or infrastructure on their land. These payments will be based on a consistent methodology.
We recognise that neighbours of wind turbines are an important part of the project. This is a new approach to our wind farm land-owner developments and we are still working through the details. Payments will be made to neighbours, but the methods of assessment will need to be agreed with the community.
Hydro Tasmania will make an annual community payment that benefits all King Islanders. How this is spent will be determined by the community throughout the project’s development and could include cheaper electricity, a community fund or community infrastructure.
Hydro Tasmania has identified that the main socio-economic impact of TasWind would result from the landscape, visual and environmental impact of the turbines themselves. These potential impacts are being investigated and further consultation with the community will help to minimise them.
Other impacts from the project would occur during construction when there would be an influx of workers (up to 500) to the island and a temporary change to the island lifestyle. All these risks and impacts are being factored into the socio-economic assessment.
The current configuration of the Port of Grassy would make shipping of TasWind’s components to King Island very challenging. For example, the turbine blades are up to 60 metres long and some components may weigh up to 250 tonnes.
We are working with a number of stakeholders and engineers to identify the most cost-effective way to manage the freight loads that would be needed by the project while maximising the long-term benefits for the community.
Options under consideration include modifying the existing harbour as outlined in the TasPorts 2008 Feasibility Study (PDF) or creating a new harbour, using the natural depths north of the existing break wall.
The next step is to investigate the relative costs and benefits for both TasWind and the King Island economy from the various shipping options being developed. We will keep the community up to date on progress.