Energy potential: ‘Sites can be developed quicker than the Snowy 2.0 scheme’

Eden-Monaro MP Mike Kelly has welcomed news of the potential for the Far South Coast to take advantage of pumped hydro energy.

Picture: Andrew Sheargold

Picture: Andrew Sheargold

“The news coincides with the news today we’re falling short of our climate targets from the Paris accord,” Dr Kelly said on Monday following the release of an Australian National University report funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Last week’s report earmarked sites along the Brown Mountain escarpment, Tantawangalo, Mount Darragh, Cathcart, Towamba, Pericoe and Rocky Hall, as having the potential for the future development of pumped hydro energy sites (PHES). 

“It shows we have the potential right here to be the flagship of the nation in renewable energy,” Dr Kelly said.

The report claims NSW has 200 times more PHES resources than is required to decarbonise the electricity supply within the state.

“The thing about the study is it points out there are 22,000 sites with potential, which will well and truly enable us to have more than we need,” Dr Kelly said.

“Most of these sites can be developed quicker than the Snowy 2.0 scheme, because they are much smaller.”

The ANU researchers feel the thousands of sites can be used to support a national electricity grid with 100 per cent renewable energy.

Dr Kelly said in order for the potential sites to become a reality, the government must create policy designed to lure business and investors to the idea.

“The best thing is to have an emissions trading scheme, and if not then an emissions intensity scheme, and at the very least push on with what [Dr Alan] Finkel has advised, which isn’t ideal, but businesses would have certainty,” he said.

“Finkel’s clean energy target was advised to happen straight away, in June.”

Dr Kelly said he has “complete confidence” Australia will transition to “cheaper energy”, and a move to alternative vehicle fuels must be looked at more closely, and seen as an issue of national security.

“Our refined fuel comes through sea lines from overseas, so we must have bio-fuels or alternatives in place,” he said.

Lead researcher Professor Andrew Blakers said fast-tracking the development of a few of the best sites by 2022 could balance the energy grid when Liddell and other coal power stations close.