Giant Pumped Hydro Scheme Set to Destroy Australia’s Favourite National Park

  • Date: 21/05/20
  • Stop These Things

Future generations will wonder why this one destroyed the planet, while claiming to save it, using completely useless industrial wind turbines and solar panels.

Whether it’s dumping hundreds of thousands of toxic solar panels and windmill blades into landfill, or the toxic lakes in China where the rare earths are processed that make them, the so-called ‘green’ energy revolution is anything but.

Touted by ex-PM Malcom Turnbull and his hapless sidekick, Josh Frydenberg as the Nation’s mega-battery, the heavily-hyped Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme (shelved in the 1970s because it was uneconomic then) has been heralded as the saviour for the Australian wind industry.

The line goes something like this: if we use 3 MWh of wind power to pump water through 27 km of tunnels, over an elevation of 900m, later, when power consumers actually need it, Snowy Hydro could return 2 MWh to the grid.

Never mind squandering 1/4 to 1/3 of the electricity originally generated; never mind that with the inclusion of the $85 per MWh REC the cost of the wind power involved exceeds $110 per MWh; never mind that the owners of Snowy 2.0 will charge a further $150-300 per MWh to re-deliver power to the grid; never mind that, in reality, the power used to pump the water uphill will largely come from coal-fired power plants, delivered overnight when it’s cheapest.

STT has, of course, focused on the economic nonsense outlined above, whereas those charged with protecting Australia’s favourite National Park, Kosciuszko, are more concerned about the wholesale destruction about to be meted out across a pristine alpine environment by a completely pointless project.

Snowy 2.0: it’s all downhill
The Australian
Gary Dunnett
13 May 2020

The Snowy Mountains Scheme stands head and shoulders above every nation-building project in Australia, with the possible exceptions of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

It shouldn’t be any surprise that in 2017 Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister at the time, responded to Snowy Hydro’s pitch for the Snowy 2.0 project by announcing this “electricity game changer”. All it needed was a new tunnel and underground power station between two existing reservoirs, costing $2bn and taking just four years to construct.

The project would deliver massive storage to counteract the intermittency of renewable generators, it would be constructed wholly underground with negligible environmental impacts, and it would launch a new chapter in the nation-building story of the Snowy Mountains.

Australians respect leaders of vision. We also expect their projects to be subject to detailed evaluation of the claimed costs and outcomes. In the case of Snowy 2.0, that takes the form of four environmental impact statements.

The reality that has emerged since the public exhibition of the main works EIS is wildly different to the vision for a low environmental impact electricity game changer. The National Parks Association of NSW, along with a group of environmental, energy and economic experts, has been scrutinising Snowy Hydro’s claims and has concluded that they just don’t stack up.

Far from having a negligible impact on Kosciuszko National Park, Snowy 2.0 would demolish hundreds of hectares of threatened species habitat; drive the stocky galaxias, a native fish, into extinction; spread the declared noxious pest redfin perch and the virulent EHN virus throughout the headwaters of major river catchments (Murrumbidgee, Snowy and Murray); depress groundwater and stream flows above the tunnel; and dump 20 million tonnes of excavated soil, contaminated with asbestos and acid-forming rock, into Kosciuszko National Park.

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