Hydro schemes may be renewable, but they definitely aren't green

This plan for building the world’s biggest pumped hydro site in the Pioneer Valley will be a disaster for the region in more ways than one.

Five years ago, Malcolm Turnbull announced the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project by saying:

“The plan will increase the generation of the Snowy Hydro scheme by 50 per cent, adding 2000 megawatts of renewable energy to the National Electricity Market (NEM).”

Australians were told the Snowy Hydro scheme would be completed at a cost of $2 billion without any taxpayer subsidy. It would bring electricity prices down and generate renewable energy with virtually nil environmental impact. None of these claims turned out to be true. Not only are Australian taxpayers now up for billions of dollars in subsidies but electricity costs have increased in NSW and Kosciuszko’s ecosystem trashed. Earlier this year, a Victoria Energy Policy Centre Report said ‘Snowy Hydro’ now wants to increase transmission tariffs by more than 50 per cent.

Far from bringing electricity prices down, electricity prices in NSW have risen significantly because of Snowy 2.0. And far from adding 2000 megawatts of renewable energy to the National Electricity Market, Snowy 2.0 will end up being a net load on the NEM. For every 100 units of electricity purchased to pump water uphill, only 75 units are returned as the water flows back down through the turbine generators.

Even the Sydney Morning Herald described it as a ‘white elephant’ and the most inefficient battery on the NEM, losing 25 per cent of energy cycled. The Premier’s ‘revolutionary’ scheme here in Queensland will be no different. The whole thing seems to have been cobbled together without any consultations held with Traditional Land Owners OR the residents and farmers whose properties and community are set to be wiped out by the Government’s costly and catastrophic virtue signalling. The concept of hydropower may seem like a green solution, but it's actually a dirty one.

Hydropower dams emit a huge amount of methane, endanger fish species, submerge prime agricultural land and uproot communities. Some existing dams in the lowland Amazon have been shown to be 10 times more carbon intensive than coal fired power plants. Over time, they can lead to drastically reduced fish populations. They also change water quality, insect populations, riverside plants, disrupt food production and the entire region’s ecosystem. These facts alone should eliminate hydro-electricity as either a green OR low carbon energy option.


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