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Greens legislate to keep Snowy clean

Greens Leader, Adam Bandt, will introduce a Bill into the House of Representatives that would prevent the government using the Snowy Hydro group to build new gas-fired power stations. The Bill will be seconded by Independent MP, Zali Steggall.

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor has given the NSW market until the end of April 2021 to make final investment decisions on 1000 MW of new dispatchable capacity to replace Liddell or he says he will direct Snowy Hydro to invest in a new gas-fired power station in the Hunter.

The Greens’ bill would mean Snowy Hydro could not:

  • Develop or construct, or be involved in the development or construction, of new fossil fuel‑based electricity generation capacity;
  • Acquire, purchase or otherwise invest in, or be involved in acquiring, purchasing or investing in, new fossil fuel‑based electricity generation capacity;
  • Operate, or be involved in the operation of, new fossil fuel‑based electricity generation capacity

Greens Leader Adam Bandt said:

“Angus Taylor wants to use Snowy Hydro to implement his pro-gas agenda, turning an Australian icon into a polluter and saddling it with a giant white elephant.

“Public money should not be used to make the climate crisis worse.

“Angus Taylor has invented figures to back up his Snowy Hydro threat, imposing a completely arbitrary 1000 MW target when the Liddell Taskforce Report made no such recommendation, the AEMO study for that Report identified a system need for only 215 MW by 2025 and AEMO has since reduced that gap to 154 MW.”

Since the Minister issued his threat, a number of major NSW battery announcements have been made:

  • Origin Energy (700 MW)
  • CEP Energy (1200 MW)
  • Neoen (500 MW)

“Despite all the proposed new investment in NSW, the Minister is still keeping his threat alive, so we must take direct legislative action to prevent the Minister and Snowy Hydro from proceeding with a new gas-fired power station,” Bandt said.

“The IPCC and the IEA have both been clear that there is no more space for new fossil fuel infrastructure if we hope to meet the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Since the sale of the NSW and Victorian shares of Snowy Hydro to the Commonwealth in 2018, Snowy Hydro Ltd is a wholly-owned Commonwealth company. 

The Frontier Economics study for the Liddell Taskforce Report did not model the price impact of such a large capacity, so there is no modelling basis for the Minister’s target. A study by Reputex found that replacing Liddell’s capacity with renewables and batteries would be cheaper than with gas.

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