Australian news, and some related international items

Snowy Hydro a “thought bubble” – not a solution to present energy problems

Snowy Hydro expansion won’t be ‘magical’ solution to power problems, experts say, ABC Radio The World Today  By Nick Grimm 16 Mar 17 Engineering experts are less critical than the South Australian Premier but some are warning that the expansion of the hydro-electric scheme won’t be a “magical” solution to Australia’s power problems.

And they point out that it is an old idea that has previously been ruled out as too expensive…….

Max Talbot, the former executive officer of Strategic Engineering at the Snowy Hydro Scheme, told ABC Local Radio previous expansion plans had proved too expensive.”We did look at that prospect briefly, expanding the scheme goes back nearly 20 years ago,” he said. “If he’s [Malcolm Turnbull] talking about what I think he’s talking about, then that was considered a feasible but far too expensive at the time…….

Energy experts wary over hydro expansion But with the details of the plan yet to be resolved, energy experts are inclined to reserve judgement on whether the plan is the answer to Australia’s looming power shortage.

The Grattan Institute’s Tony Wood said the project faced so many stumbling blocks and was unlikely to be a “magical panacea”. “The real question here is the economics,” Mr Wood said. “And whether it’s privately owned or publicly owned, is this a good use of public funds? That’s going to be the trick for the feasibility of the study to determine.

“And that would also be therefore the reason why no-one has leapt into this before. “To be fair some of the really sharp issues only started to crystallise in the last six months or so, particularly for example with the announced shut down of the Hazelwood power station.”

That is echoed by another energy economist — Danny Price from Frontier Economics.As he told RN Breakfast, he is sceptical about the plan’s viability, especially given the shared ownership of the scheme, split between the Commonwealth, Victorian and New South Wales governments.

“I’ve worked on the Snowy Hydro corporation over many years, and let me say getting anything done in the Snowy is extremely difficult as it involves the three governments that own it,” he said.

“So at this stage I would regard the Snowy proposal as a thought bubble, and it’s a bit like saying ‘I’m about to begin building a boat and rescue someone’ — it will be years off before anything happens.“…..


March 17, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics

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