Water

Australia’s Snowy Hydro approves $2.9 billion power expansion project

12 December 2018

Sonali Paul, Reuters
12 December 2018

The board of Australian state-owned power generator Snowy Hydro on Wednesday approved a roughly A$4 billion ($2.9 billion) expansion project, though it still needs approval from the federal government.

The expansion will shore up Australia’s power supply as aging coal-fired plants are shut. The plan was pushed last year by then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who touted it as Australia’s biggest renewable energy project since the Snowy Hydro system was first built.

The expansion will add 2,000 megawatts (MW) of power generation through so-called pumped hydro, which acts like a huge battery, pumping water uphill between two dams when there is cheap wind and solar power on the grid, and releasing that energy when the wind eases and the sun goes down.

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