Coastwatchers Endorses Calls for Full Environmental Inquiry Before the Snowy Mountain Upgrade Part 2 Proceeds

The President of the Coastwatchers Association, John Perkins, has joined calls from a number of environmental organisations calling on the Commonwealth Government to undertake a full environmental assessment before proceeding with the upgrade of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electricity Scheme.

The President said that the technical appraisal, which is currently being carried out, must demonstrate the project is technically viable.

He also said that the proposal had to be financially viable. It was essential to review alternate strategies such as major battery storage as proposed for South Australia and Victoria.

The assumption underlying pumped hydro is based on there being a price differential between off peak and peak electricity prices. This differential must be sufficient to meet the cost of recycling water back above the turbines. If that differential reduces because of, say, the introduction of big battery storage, then Snowy 2 will not be viable.

John Perkins said before any work proceeds, it is critical that a thorough and independent environmental assessment be made. The allocation of $500,000 for the technical feasibility study, ironically by ARENA, the organisation Abbott tried to close, will be entirely inadequate to review environmental issues as well. That presumably will be considered in the planning assessment process.

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