Australia floats $1.5 billion hydro upgrade to help plug power gap

Mar 17, 2017, 01:20
Australia floats $1.5 billion hydro upgrade to help plug power gap

The $2 billion dollar expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme is a cost effective plan for the future of Australia's energy supply, experts say.

Thornton said pumped hydro is a "perfect complement" to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar and other forms of storage that are becoming cheaper each year.

"Hydro power has a long and impressive history of delivering energy to Australians and meeting peak demand, now delivering about 7% of Australia's power each year and acting as the dominant form of energy storage here and across the world". It would not involve new dams, but connect existing reservoirs and recycle water.

"This isn't some sort of magic panacea", Wood told the ABC.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: "The unprecedented expansion will help make renewables reliable, filling in holes caused by intermittent supply and generator outages".

"There's no detail. We have the Prime Minister who's come out and made some pronouncement without actually thinking through how much it's going to cost, what does that mean for consumers, when it'll actually be able to be delivered", Victoria's energy minister, Lily D'Ambrosio, said on local radio, adding that she heard about the plan on the morning news.

The Minerals Council of Australia has called for the blanket ban on nuclear power to be lifted after 11 coalition government MPs publicly declared it should be included in the energy mix.

SYDNEY, March 16 The Australian government will spend up to A$2 billion ($1.54 billion) to expand the output of a hydroelectric power scheme by up to 50 percent to help solve a power crisis, the government said on Thursday. The expansion would have no impact on the supply of irrigation water to NSW, South Australia and Queensland.

A $500,000 feasability study is expected to be completed before the end of the year.