“80% renewables by 2030 is Bullshit” says former Snowy Hydro CEO

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Australia’s star “Renewables BackUp” the Snowy Hydro 2.0 scheme has been delayed another two years. The pumped storage mammoth looks more like a ghost elephant every day. When last we heard, Florence the hapless tunnel boring machine started on a 15 kilometer tunnel and carved through 150 meters of rock only to get stuck in some sand, where it is still stuck months later. Now the completion date has blown out to late 2029.

When it started in 2017 it was supposed to cost $2 billion, and be finished in four years. Now, if we include transmission lines, the cost is about $20 billion, and the four years has become twelve. Even the Greens leader Adam Bandt thinks it should be ditched. It’s that bad.

Paul Broad was the CEO of Snowy Hydro for ten years until August last year. So he managed one of Australia’s largest single generators for a decade. Now that he’s free to speak, he’s scathing about the renewables transition. On Thursday he spoke to Ben Fordham of 2GB radio making it clear what a fantasy project NetZero is:

“The notion that you’re going to have 80 per cent renewables in our system by 2030 is, to use the vernacular, bullshit,” Mr Broad said.

“Eraring [Coal power station] CANNOT close…If the lights don’t go out I’ll be awfully surprised,” he said.

‘The truth is… this transition, if it ever occurs, it will take 80 years… not eight.’

There are massive changes that need to occur.

“And I’m deeply concerned about the rush, the notion that somehow this is all magic … we’ll close a big base-load power plant that’s kept our lights on for yours and my life … and there are all these alternatives out there.

“Well, it’s not. I can be absolutely, 100 per cent certain it’s not available.”  —   ABC News

The standard marketing for Snowy 2.0 includes this line, which was supposed to impress us:

” It will store enough energy to power 3 million homes for a week.”

But for $20 billion dollars we could build new coal plants to power 3 million homes for the whole dang year. We could build a nuclear plant.

Would you like pollution, feral pests and a money eating machine?

Ted Woodley in The Australian sums up just how disastrous this is electrically, as well as environmentally:

And Snowy 2.0 will be a very inefficient battery, consuming about 1.5 kilowatt-hours for pumping for each 1.0 kilowatt-hour it delivers, due to losses in the pumping/ generation cycle and in transmission (two ways). Further, its claimed cyclic storage capacity will be constrained by the unequal volumes of the upper and lower reservoirs and the need to integrate operation with the existing Tumut 3 pumped hydro station.

Environmentally, vast construction sites and roads/tracks across 35km of Kosciuszko National Park have destroyed thousands of hectares of native alpine habitat. Twenty million tonnes of excavated spoil will be dumped in the Park and reservoirs, enough to cover a football field to a height of three kilometres.

Pest fish and pathogens will be transported from Talbingo Reservoir to Tantangara Reservoir and then across the alps into the Murray, Snowy, Murrumbidgee and Tumut headwaters, overwhelming native species and devastating trout fishing. Four 330kV transmission lines on two sets of 70-metre towers will traverse eight kilometres of the Park over a cleared easement swathe up to 140 metres wide. This will be the first time transmission lines are erected in a NSW national park for 50 years.

From The Daily Mail: we find out it’s really our Energy Minister that’s the problem

Broad resigned because “Mr Bowen became the Energy Minister” and Bowen wanted to run a gas plant on hydrogen that didn’t exist:

He [Broad] said said he resigned as Snowy Hydro CEO last August after nine years in charge because after Mr Bowen became the Energy Minister ‘I was dead in the water, so it was only a matter of time before I formally resigned.’

‘Particularly the gas plant at Kurri Kurri (in NSW). (former Coalition energy minister) Angus Taylor and I were very strong that you needed gas to keep the lights on. ‘And we had more gas in NSW than we know what to do with. We need gas (for) when the sun’s not shining, when the wind’s not blowing … (but) Chris Bowen was against Kurri Kurri. ‘Then he said, we’re going to run Kurri Kurri 30 per cent on hydrogen.

There is no hydrogen … and there won’t be for another 10, 20 years at the earliest,’ [Broad] said.

Imagine if they’d put out this announcement the week before the Liddell coal fired plant closed?

Ted Woodley is former managing director of PowerNet, GasNet, EnergyAustralia, GrainCorp and China Light & Power Systems (Hong Kong).

This article originally appeared at JoNova

  • Joanne Nova

    A prize-winning science graduate in molecular biology. She has given keynotes about the medical revolution, gene technology and aging at conferences. She hosted a children’s TV series on Channel Nine, and has done over 200 radio interviews, many on the Australian ABC. She was formerly an associate lecturer in Science Communication at the ANU. She’s author of The Skeptics Handbook which has been translated into 15 languages. Each day 5,000 people read joannenova.com.au

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