The Turnbull Government will start work on an electricity game-changer: the plan for the Snowy Mountains Scheme 2.0.
This plan will increase the generation of the Snowy Hydro scheme by 50%, adding 2000 megawatts of renewable energy to the National Electricity Market - enough to power 500,000 thousand homes.
In one hour it could produce 20 times the 100Mwh expected from the battery proposed by the South Australian Government, but would deliver it constantly for almost a week (or 350,000 Mwh over seven days).
The unprecedented expansion will help make renewables reliable, filling in holes caused by intermittent supply and generator outages. It will enable greater energy efficiency and help stabilise electricity supply into the future.
This will ultimately mean cheaper power prices and more money in the pockets of Australians.
For too long policymakers have put ideology and politics ahead of engineering and economics. Successive governments at all levels have failed to put in place the necessary storage to ensure reliable power supply to homes and businesses.
We are making energy storage infrastructure a critical priority to ensure better integration of wind and solar into the energy market and more efficient use of conventional power.
By supercharging the Snowy Hydro precinct, we can ensure affordable and reliable electricity for Australian households and businesses.
The Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), will examine several sites, which could support large scale pumped hydroelectric energy storage in the precinct. These sites would involve new tunnels and power stations, connecting existing storages.
Snowy Hydro was originally built with the capability to be expanded and the Turnbull Government intends on maximizing that capacity.
Every Australian should be confident that they can turn the lights on when they need them.
That is why an “all of the above” approach - including hydro, solar, coal and gas - is critical to future energy supplies.
We will always put sensible, considered energy decisions ahead of reckless targets that cannot guarantee power supply to Australians.
Snowy Hydro already provides back up energy to New South Wales and Victoria and could extend to South Australia when expanded.
This exciting plan would lead to job creation and economic security for thousands in the construction and engineering sectors.
It will have no impact on the scheme’s ability to supply water to irrigators in New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland.
A feasibility study is expected to be completed before the end of the year, and construction can commence soon after.