The controversial $350 million Basslink undersea transmission link from the island state of Tasmania to the Australian mainland grid has been approved by the new Labour government of Tasmania. Four consortia have been short-listed to build the project as a private sector development. Final selection is expected by September 1, 1999 to ensure the project is operating by the original start date of October 30, 2002. The link has been touted as a potential boon for Tasmanian wind energy projects to sell their green power into the mainland electricity market. But there was no mention of wind in the official announcement of the link by recently elected state Premier Jim Bacon. He said the decision complements the government's resolve to pursue with vigour the natural gas option. "We said before the election we wanted to leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of gas," he says.
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