The Palaszczuk Government will invest to develop a business case for a hydro-electric power station on the State’s largest dam – Burdekin Falls Dam – to secure energy and support jobs for North Queensland.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the plan to increase the Burdekin Falls Dam capacity by 150,000 megalitres to more than two million MLs was already being assessed by the Palaszczuk Government, working with the Federal Government under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
The Premier said the Government wanted to now investigate establishing a hydro-electric power station, which could generate 150 gigawatt hours – the equivalent of the annual energy use of 30,000 homes – based on the current size and more if the Dam was raised.
“This project is critical for the development of northern Australia,” the Premier said.
The Dam is currently at 101% of its 1,860,000ML storage capacity.
“The hydro-electric potential in the Burdekin has been talked about since the 1940s. It was last proposed in 2014, but the proponent shelved the project amid disarray in Abbott-Turnbull Government energy policy, at a time when the Nicholls-Newman Government remained firmly anti-renewables” she said.
“Today I’m calling on the Prime Minister to work with my Government as we develop a Burdekin Hydro business case to complement the strategic assessment underway on the raising of the Burdekin Falls Dam by two metres to store more water and generate electricity.”
“This will complement the existing Koombooloomba, Kareeya and Barron Gorge hydro power stations currently operating in North Queensland and the 800 MW pipeline of renewable energy projects committed in North Queensland over the last 12 months, a $1.5 billion investment supporting more than 1400 jobs.”
Minister for the State Development, Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham has called on the Federal Government to consider investment in gas pipelines to open up the Galilee and Bowen Basins that could solve the shortage of gas in the east coast market and fuel job-creating energy users in Townsville.
“Generating hydro-electricity off the Burdekin Falls Dam, supporting other renewable energy projects and developing pipelines connecting gas reserves to communities and industry in the North, are more realistic and viable than a hypothetical and expensive coal-fired power stations,” the Premier said.
“These should be priorities for the Turnbull Government’s untapped $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and its infrastructure investment.”
“The Palaszczuk Government stands for jobs in local manufacturing, export
“The Burdekin Falls Dam is already the largest dam in Queensland holding four times the capacity of Sydney Harbour.”
“Queenslanders are experiencing higher wholesale generation prices in part as a result of the closure of privately owned power stations in the southern States driving up demand on Queensland as an energy exporter.”
“We are developing a solid mix of our energy resources – coal, gas and renewables– bringing on more supply to the National Energy Market when southern states on the east coast refuse to.”
“Instead of rewarding Queensland, Malcolm Turnbull is trying to hamper and hinder us with thought bubbles on energy policy, like his export gas ban threat and proposed coal-fired power station.”
“Queensland is still yet to receive one cent in funding from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility more than 680 days after it was announced.”
“With the support of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and the investment by the Queensland Government in the development of a business case this nation building project can become a reality.
In terms of water security for Townsville, in December 2016, the Palaszczuk Government, Federal Government and Townsville City Council signed the historic Townsville City Deal – Australia’s first.
As part of the City Deal, the Townsville Water Security Taskforce has been established and is currently investigating short, medium and long-term solutions to water security for Townsville.
The Palaszczuk Government’s business case into the potential for hydro at Burdekin is predominantly about energy supply, but will of course take into account the future findings of the Taskforce.
Led by independent Chair and Townsville local, Brad Webb, the Taskforce is engaging with community, industry and other relevant stakeholders to build on existing studies and research.
After consulting with the community, the taskforce is expected to report on options to the Premier and Prime Minister in the second half of 2017 by 30 June 2017.