Snowy 2.0 has taken another step towards realisation with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment calling for community feedback on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Main Works.
If approved, the Snowy 2.0 Main Works would involve the construction of an underground power station with a generating capacity of around 2,000 megawatts and approximately 27 km of power waterways linking the existing Tantangara and Talbingo Reservoirs.
“It could increase the generation capacity of the existing Snowy Scheme by almost 50 per cent and provide 350,000 megawatt hours of large-scale storage capacity for the National Energy Market,” according to the executive director of Resource Assessments, David Kitto.
“Our role is to assess the infrastructure application and work towards the best outcome for the community and State of NSW, in consultation with all stakeholders.
“We appreciate the level of community interest in this project, and we want to give the community sufficient time to have their say. This is why we are exhibiting the EIS for the project for six weeks, which is two weeks longer than the normal exhibition period,” Mr. Kitto says.
The Department is also holding a public information session on Thursday, 17 October from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Monaro Car Clubhouse, Bolaro Street, Cooma.
A public reserves lobby group, the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA), says the project “proposes a completely unacceptable level of damage to Kosciusko National Park”.
NPA Executive Officer Gary Dunnett says an initial view of the 1000s of pages contained in the EIS show the extent of environmental destruction proposed by the project including:
- A ‘disturbance area’ of 2000 ha (20 square kilometres) along a 40 km corridor of largely undisturbed native alpine bush in Kosciuszko National Park
- Dumping 9 million cubic metres of excavated rock spoil, some of which has naturally occurring asbestos and acid-forming rock
- Dumping spoil in various locations in the Park, including Tantangara and Talbingo Reservoirs, thereby reducing their active storage capacities
- Significant reductions in groundwater and stream flows along the route of the 27 km tunnel
- Major issues with transfer of pest fish
- 100 km of upgraded and new roads and tracks, and
- Three accommodation camps and works areas, with the Lob’s Hole area disturbing bush along 6 km of the Yarrangobilly River
Mr Dunnett says “it is a travesty that the EIS has been released seven months after the commencement of construction and 2½ years since Snowy 2.0 was announced by then Prime Minister Turnbull”.
“The slow disclosure of the full extent of Snowy Hydro’s planned environmental damage to Kosciusko National Park seems designed to establish the project as a done deal and avoid any real consideration of lower-impact alternatives.”
While accepting that “pumped hydro unquestionably has an important role to play in our future energy mix, that doesn’t mean that every pumped hydro project has acceptable environmental credentials”, Mr Dunnett says.
After the exhibition period for the EIS closes, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will consider all submissions received, along with feedback from other government agencies and councils.
A separate application for the development of a Segment Factory at Polo Flat, Cooma to provide concrete tunnel linings for the Main Works will also be submitted by Snowy Hydro in the coming months.
The community is invited to have its say on the Snowy 2.0 Main Works by Wednesday, 6 November via the Department’s Major Projects website.
Original Article published by Ian Campbell on About Regional.