On Global Hydropower Day, the Clean Energy Council recognises the vital role that the technology has played in Australia's energy system to date and the increasingly important role that it will play in maintaining energy supply reliability into the future.
There is currently around 8.5 GW of hydropower capacity in operation across Australia, providing approximately 7 per cent of renewable energy generation in 2021. That figure is set to grow in coming years, with construction continuing on the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project in NSW and now underway at the Kidston Pumped Hydro Project in Queensland.
Australia's first commercial hydro scheme, the Duck Reach Power Station, began generating hydroelectricity in 1895. Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said that 127 years on, hydropower is experiencing a renaissance in Australia.
"The Queensland Government has recently announced two new pumped hydro projects in Gympie and Mackay; the latter – the Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro project – is set to be the world's largest at 5 GW.
"These two projects will help to transform the Sunshine State into a renewable energy superpower.
"Late last year, the NSW Government revealed that its $50 million Pumped Hydro Recoverable Grants Program had received 11 GW of proposals, or over five times the 2 GW it needs to support wind and solar projects within the state's renewable energy zones. It's a response that is further evidence that investors are willing to back hydropower under the right policy settings."
Hydropower has done a lot of heavy lifting over the last 100 years. With the right support, it can continue to do so for 100 more years, creating thousands of jobs today while underpinning the reliability of the grid for generations to come.
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