2 November, 2023
Region’s natural assets answer to nation’s power woes: Katter
NORTH Queensland’s natural assets are the answer to nation’s electricity woes, says Member for Kennedy Bob Katter.
Mr Katter made the comments in response to warnings from regulatory authorities about power shortages, and constant delays and cost blowouts associated with “nation-building” project – Snowy 2.0.
The troubled 2200mw hydro project, which was set to be powering about three million homes next year, has blown out from about $2 billion to $12 billion and is unlikely to be generating any power for at least another four years.
Mr Katter, who was a former Queensland electricity minister, said he was baffled why governments had not instead looked to North Queensland to achieve a similar outcome – a region with some of the nation’s tallest mountain ranges, and highest rainfall which are two critical components for a successful hydro scheme.
After recently asking the Minister for Climate Change if he was aware, and had a plan for the more than 9000mw in reliable, baseload coal-fired power exiting the grid over the next five years, Mr Katter said he didn’t receive a plan, rather a response stating, “it’s all the Libs’ fault”.
With no concrete plan for baseload generation in sight and constant delays to Snowy 2.0, Mr Katter is calling for a rethink of the nation’s electricity generating strategy, including additional use of carbon to produce valuable by-products.
“The only area where you can get real hydro is in North Queensland - we've got the height and we've got the rainfall. If North Queensland was its own country, it would be the wettest country on earth,” he said.
“Other regions might have the height, but they don't have the rainfall.”
The two catchments associated with Snowy 2.0, Talbingo and Tantangara, report an average annual rainfall of 850mm and 1996mm respectively. Tully in North Queensland records over 4000mm per year.
“The $12 billion (estimated for Snowy) could have built the Bradfield Scheme, with Hells Gates’ potential to generate more than 100mw, Tully Hydro 1000mw and a 2500mw modern high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal-fired power station accompanied by algae ponds at Collinsville,” Mr Katter said.