Australian news, and some related international items

Malcolm Turnbull talks up his grand Snowy Hydro energy scheme, “better than solar and batteries”

Malcolm Turnbull says Snowy Hydro plan will outdo South Australian battery storage
PM says plan would turn Snowy Hydro into energy storage system but Labor says proposal leaves unanswered questions, Guardian, 
, 16 Mar 17, Malcolm Turnbull has used his expansion plans for the Snowy Hydro to try to outdo South Australia on battery storage, saying it would provide 20 times the capacity of the battery system proposed by the premier, Jay Weatherill.

The prime minister visited the Snowy Hydro power station on Thursday to spruik the benefits of the expansion plan on the same day his energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, had an onscreen altercation with Weatherill at the launch of a virtual power station.

The Turnbull government continues to be at odds with the Labor states over energy policy, with the prime minister criticising South Australia for its high use of renewables and Victoria for its gas exploration moratorium.

Turnbull said his plan to develop pumped hydro would effectively turn Snowy Hydro into a giant energy storage system…….initially, the Turnbull government is providing $500,000 for a feasibility plan completed by the end of the year.

Snowy Hydro is jointly owned by the federal government, the New South Wales government and the Victorian government. Turnbull promised the federal government would contribute “on a commercial basis” if the other shareholders did not want to contribute and he underlined it would make money for the company……

While Turnbull said the NSW government was enthusiastic about the plan, the Victorian energy minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, told the ABC on Thursday morning that she had not been briefed. But Turnbull said the states, as shareholders, were fully briefed.

“The news is what we heard on the radio and what we woke up to this morning,” D’Ambrosio said. “This is the way the prime minister is leading this country, so-called.”

Asked if Victoria would part fund the Snowy Hydro, D’Ambrosio said, “We don’t have problems keeping the lights on in Victoria.”

The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, said he hoped the Snowy Hydro plan spelt an end to Turnbull “bagging out the states”…..

Prof Ken Baldwin, director of the ANU Energy Change Institute, said the expansion of pumped hydro storage was welcome but it needed to be part of a national energy plan following the imminent release of the Finkel report.

“The announcement of a revitalised Snowy Hydro scheme for energy storage is welcome and comes hard on the heels of the South Australian government’s recent energy initiative that also incorporates storage,” Baldwin said.

“However, what is urgently needed is a national energy plan for these initiatives to plug into. The energy sector has been paralysed by a decade of government policy uncertainty and is now creaking under the strain as technological advances overwhelm it.”…..

March 17, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, New South Wales, politics, Victoria

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