Submission for: Snowy 2.0 - Segment Factory
PORT MACQUARIE, New South Wales
I, Julie Ho, wish to register my opposition to the Snowy 2.0 project as described in the Main Works Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). I am disappointed that this project, proposed to benefit our environment and increase renewable energy use, will actually cause irreparable damage to Kosciuszko National Park (KNP), a National Heritage Listed national park and a uniquely sensitive sub alpine region already under threat from development, feral species and climate change.
The EIS reveals unacceptable environmental impacts on KNP: the Project Area covers approximately 50 km by 50 km (250,000 ha), which is a third of KNP. The portion containing sub-alpine habitats, the areas to be destroyed by Snowy 2.0, has some of the rarest habitat in Australia, areas that are critical for the retreat and adaptation of alpine species affected by the irrefutable trend to rising average temperatures.
It is shocking that a government could promote or even consider this scheme, which will mean the largest ever proposed loss of critically important habitats in a NSW National Park.
The EIS acknowledges that the construction footprint will ‘disturb’ 1,680 ha, clear 1,053 ha of native vegetation, and destroy 992 ha of threatened species habitat (threatened fauna, threatened flora and Threatened Ecological Communities). However it understates the permanent damage outside the heavy construction zones, including Talbingo and Tantangara Reservoirs, 100 km of new and upgraded roads, 10 km of transmission lines with a 120-metre-wide easement swathe, ground water depleted areas above the tunnels, construction camps (for 2,100 workers) and multiple works areas. In fact Snowy 2.0 will permanently damage more than 10,000 ha of KNP.
It is also expected that Snowy 2.0 will disperse pest species throughout the waterways of KNP and downstream. They may be moved throughout the rest of the Snowy Scheme and into downstream rivers including the Murrumbidgee and Murray.
Because the Snowy 2.0 project does not meet the standards required of Environmentally Sustainable Development, it should be refused by the Minister for Planning.
The data in the EIS also refutes claims that the project will be cost-effective and will deliver clean energy. Snowy 2.0 will be a net consumer of electricity, not a generator, with ‘round-trip’ losses of 30%, plus another 10% for transmission. Most alarming is the revelation that for the next decade pumping electricity will come from coal-fired power stations, not renewables, belying the claim that Snowy 2.0 will ‘store’ electricity from renewable generators. If Snowy 2.0 ever generated its claimed 350 GWh of energy, it would take 500 GWh of pumping energy to re-charge, incurring 150 GWh of losses.
It is also clear that the cost of Snowy 2.0 will be many times greater than the original $2 billion. It is likely that the project, including transmission, will be $10 billion, or even more. This indicates that it is not economically viable.