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Snowy 2.0: Turnbull’s utter fantasy

“Can I keep the uniform?”

Snowy 2.0: Turnbull’s utter fantasy

Give it up Malcolm while you still can!

Decked out in hard hat and fluoro vest as a modern-day, can-do Man from Snowy River, Malcolm Turnbull recently sought to bolster his leadership by basking in the aura of pride that still surrounds the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme. Writes Ron Pike who knows about such matters in today’s Australian.

As we said here on MM, Malcolm Turnbull did and will lurch from one desperate nonsense to another hoping to con the gullible with foolish BS. Mikesc, an MM commenter, did the sums that indicated Turnbull’s bull would be paid for in 547 years. Ha, ha, ho, ha, ha!

As a retired executive officer, strategic engineering, from the Snowy Mountains Authority, Max Talbot, told the ABC last week: “This appears to be no more than a thought bubble about something we rejected as too expensive over 20 years ago.”

Source: News Corp

Snowy Two: Turnbull’s pipe is full of holes

Sixty-eight years earlier a visionary prime minister, Ben Chifley, announced the start of the Snowy scheme with these words: “This plan is the greatest single project in our history — it will provide vast supplies of water and power to drive decentralisation of industry and population. This is a plan for the nation and it needs the nation to back it.”

The nation did and the building and commissioning of the Snowy scheme changed Australia from a mostly British agricultural society to a proud multicultural and industrial country.

For those desperately fleeing a war-torn Europe, seeking a new life, and the people of this vast and sparsely populated (and at that time power and water-starved country), the Snowy scheme, the work it offered and the resources that flowed following its completion made both man and nation.

The other day our present Prime Minister stated: “I am a nation-building prime minister and this is a nation-building project.”

The two statements and the plans they prefaced could not be more dissimilar but they have one thing in common: that although these statements were made so many years apart, the national situation in each case is quite similar.

At both times we have a huge influx of people seeking safe haven, but we are desperately short of resources to generate jobs and we are carrying unsustainable national debt.

There the similarity ends. Notice first that a true visionary like Chifley speaks about the people, their future and his country, whereas Turnbull speaks about himself — because his vision apparently does not go beyond keeping his job.

As a retired executive officer, strategic engineering, from the Snowy Mountains Authority, Max Talbot, told the ABC last week: “This appears to be no more than a thought bubble about something we rejected as too expensive over 20 years ago.”

Talbot explained: “Pumped storage hydro requires about 20 per cent more energy to pump the water than is returned to the system when that water is used to generate electricity. PSH is a net user of energy from the system. For example, 100 megawatt hours of pumping returns 80MWh of generated power.

“Therefore it is only commercial when the differential between peak and off-peak prices (is) far greater than 20 per cent.”

As a result, Turnbull’s so-called Snowy 2.0 can never be a solution to our power needs. It makes us wonder where the Prime Minister is getting his advice.

As part of the announcement, Turnbull claimed that this was the part of the Snowy scheme that was never built.

But it was never part of the Snowy scheme. As Talbot pointed out, this scheme was considered and dismissed in the 1980s.

“It was uneconomical,” he explained. “Because without reducing flows from Tantangara to Eucumbene, there was insufficient water in Tantangara to provide for further hydro power production. It would have been robbing Peter (Tumut 1 and Tumut 2 power stations) to pay Paul (Turnbull’s proposed new hydro stations).”

Turnbull’s plan is so build tunnels from Tantangara Dam to Talbingo Dam with two power stations along the way. The water that would power these units is the same water that now goes from Tantangara to Eucumbene and then through two power stations into Talbingo Dam. So, same water, same drop and — surprise, surprise — the same amount of power generated. All for just $2 billion.

The PM’s pumped storage pipe dream is hardly new technology; we have been using it at Tumut 3 power station since 1973, where the water released from this, the biggest power station in the Snowy (1800MW), is impounded in Jounama Pondage and some of this water is pumped back up to Talbingo, a lift of 130m at off-peak rates at night.

To generate the additional 2000MW of power the PM claims this scheme could produce would require pumping at least 1000 megalitres of water every day back up to Tantangara Dam from Talbingo Dam, a lift of more than 600m. The power required to do this in the hours of off-peak load is almost 15 per cent of the total NSW baseload production.

“What is urgently needed from our elected representatives,” Talbot added, “is a comprehensive national energy policy, designed to achieve energy supply security for the foreseeable future at the lowest possible cost.”

The first thing Chifley’s Snowy scheme provided to the people was hope in the future, a chance for a new beginning; it delivered huge amounts of water and power that fuelled primary and secondary industry across a large part of Australia and made jobs possible for anyone prepared to “have a go” for several decades. Turnbull’s project provides no hope, no additional water and no ongoing jobs — and any tiny increase in power will be uneconomical.

For the money the PM has suggested he would spend on this, we could implement the follow-up to the Snowy scheme developed by the not-for-profit Australian Water Exploration Company that would store more than six million megalitres of water on the upper Clarence for use in dry times, generate more than twice the hydro power of the present Snowy scheme, and divert 1.2 million megalitres of additional water every year to the Murray-Darling Basin.

AWEC estimates this would generate economic activity that in turn should create 50,000 permanent jobs and more than $8bn annually in economic activity. Just as the Snowy did all those years ago, it would provide productive jobs for old and new arrivals alike.

Ron Pike is a retired irrigation farmer and water consultant.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Penguinte 28/03/2017, 7:13 am

    Why can’t we just tell the Greens to get stuffed and go nuclear? All this pussying around is just wasting time we’re going to end up there, eventually!

    • James 11/09/2018, 11:42 pm

      Couldn’t have said it better myself Penguinte!

  • Xword 28/03/2017, 8:24 am

    I’m not a very happy little iSnack 2.0 after reading the above

  • Lorraine 28/03/2017, 8:25 am

    we can’t trust our PM, his pay packet covers the increase in power. Snowy has problems $2 billion for no increase , just like Desal plants not needed for water…are we governed only by DH’s

    • crankykoala 28/03/2017, 10:06 am

      Yes we are Lorraine. The DH’s are advised by those of the left/green variety and who cannot see the forest for the trees, upper Clarence they would ask where is that — anywhere near Canberra.

  • Topsy 28/03/2017, 8:29 am

    Disgusting, not very bright politician, unfortunately in a position of power, trying to bring Australia to its knees just in order to satisfy his ego and vanity. I can do what I want and nobody can stop me.

  • Bill 28/03/2017, 8:38 am

    if we’re not going to turn into a second North Korea, where the whole place goes dark after sunset, we WILL eventually have to go nuclear. The only question is how long it will take our so-called leaders to come to that conclusion.

    We (Australians) are fast turning into clones of the Americans, of whom Churchill once said “…can always be relied upon to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else first.” Such it is with nuclear power.

  • Margaret 28/03/2017, 9:39 am

    Turnbull is not a nation building Prime Minister he is a thought bubble PM just like Rudd and Gillard.

    The Japanese PM has committed to build 45 coal fired power stations in the next 10 years. Japan will import Australian coal. They will rely on nuclear, coal, oil and natural gas fired power stations as they import almost all their fuel.

    Now that’s a decisive PM who is looking after the interests of the country not pandering to the noisy minority Greens.

    Australia has an abundance of coal, gas and uranium and yet we will have unnecessary blackouts imposed on us because we have a weak PM who will not stand up for Australia.

  • Biking Voter 28/03/2017, 10:22 am

    Who put this brain fart in his head, because left to his own devices there is no way he thought of this himself.
    He probably still thinks he’s clever and that it was a good idea as we won’t have to pay for it himself, lets just squeeze a few more pensioners and other low income earners.

  • Albert 28/03/2017, 2:07 pm

    Someone sent me this yesterday and it suits Malcolm the Magnificent to a tee.

    “When you are dead, you don’t know you are dead. It is only difficult for others.
    It’s the same when you’re stupid.”

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