TASPORTS is undertaking a market sounding exercise to inform growth plans around renewable energy generation in Tasmania.

A focus of the exercise is the port of Bell Bay, which features in energy development plans as a renewables hub.

Commercial and financial advisory firm Paxon Group will run the exercise on behalf of TasPorts.

The market sounding exercise aims to identify parties associated with upcoming large-scale operations who are interested in using, operating in or developing Port of Bell Bay facilities.

It also aims to understand development requirements, commercial opportunities and options emerging from current demand.

TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald said the exercise would also help the corporation understand the range of requirements for projects including possible port-related developments and enabling options, infrastructure investments and leasing.

He said Tasmania is approaching a pivotal point in the race to secure state-based renewable projects, and the port is ready to play its part.

“TasPorts is continuing to work with governments, government agencies and broader industry to support renewable energy options, driving momentum for the Port of Bell Bay as a key Renewables Energy Hub and offering multi-port user facilities,” Mr Donald said.

He said ports like Bell Bay are critical to delivering renewable and energy-generating projects (wind and solar farms) and transitional industries and projects (hydrogen, alternative fuels and decommissioning fossil-fuel assets).

“These projects will have unprecedented space and specific infrastructure requirements that we are confident can be met by a port like Bell Bay and its surrounding advanced manufacturing zone with appropriate development,” Mr Donald said.

“The scarcity of supply relating to suitable ports, escalating demand, pressure for projects to lock in berth and landside areas ahead of their final investment decisions and increasing competition between the projects, investors and proponents has created a challenge that we are well-placed to meet.

“TasPorts will carefully consider the range of proposed projects and requirements in order to maximise the facilitation of trade for the benefit of Tasmania.

“We know there is increasing demand for port facilities and land suitable for receiving, storage, construction and operations and maintenance related to numerous planned large-scale projects.”

Mr Donald said TasPorts has fielded multiple approaches from project proponents, investors, and others including those responsible for project logistics, and developers.

“They are keen to pursue lease, partnerships or a variety of infrastructure or port development investments particularly for the Port of Bell Bay.”

According to Mr Donald, the availability of seaports with the characteristics required for many of the known upcoming projects is currently limited on the eastern and south-eastern seaboards of mainland Australia and Tasmania.

“The Port of Bell Bay presents opportunities for land reclamation, new berth/facility development existing berth redevelopment/optimisation, and limited port expansion,” he said.