The Queensland Government is developing a business case for a hydro-electric power station on the Burdekin Falls Dam aiming to secure energy and support jobs.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the plan to increase the Burdekin Falls Dam capacity by 150,000 megalitres to more than two million mls was already being assessed by the Palaszczuk Government, working with the Federal Government under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

The Premier said the Government wanted to now investigate establishing a hydro-electric power station, which could generate 150 gigawatt hours – the equivalent of the annual energy use of 30,000 homes – based on the current size and more if the Dam was raised.

“This project is critical for the development of northern Australia,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

The Dam is currently at 101 per cent of its 1,860,000ML storage capacity.

“The hydro-electric potential in the Burdekin has been talked about since the 1940s. It was last proposed in 2014, but the proponent shelved the project amid disarray in Abbott-Turnbull Government energy policy, at a time when the Nicholls-Newman Government remained firmly anti-renewables.”

“Today I’m calling on the Prime Minister to work with my Government as we develop a Burdekin Hydro business case to complement the strategic assessment underway on the raising of the Burdekin Falls Dam by two metres to store more water and generate electricity.”

“This will complement the existing Koombooloomba, Kareeya and Barron Gorge hydro power stations currently operating in North Queensland and the 800 MW pipeline of renewable energy projects committed in North Queensland over the last 12 months, a $1.5 billion investment supporting more than 1400 jobs.”

Minister for the State Development, Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham has called on the Federal Government to consider investment in gas pipelines to open up the Galilee and Bowen Basins that could solve the shortage of gas in the east coast market and fuel job-creating energy users in Townsville.

“Generating hydro-electricity off the Burdekin Falls Dam, supporting other renewable energy projects and developing pipelines connecting gas reserves to communities and industry in the North, are more realistic and viable than a hypothetical and expensive coal-fired power stations,” the Premier said.

“The Burdekin Falls Dam is already the largest dam in Queensland holding four times the capacity of Sydney Harbour.

“Queenslanders are experiencing higher wholesale generation prices in part as a result of the closure of privately owned power stations in the southern States driving up demand on Queensland as an energy exporter.”

“We are developing a solid mix of our energy resources – coal, gas and renewables– bringing on more supply to the National Energy Market when southern states on the east coast refuse to.

“With the support of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and the investment by the Queensland Government in the development of a business case this nation building project can become a reality.”

In terms of water security for Townsville, in December 2016, the Palaszczuk Government, Federal Government and Townsville City Council signed the Townsville City Deal – Australia’s first.

As part of the City Deal, the Townsville Water Security Taskforce has been established and is currently investigating short, medium and long-term solutions to water security for Townsville.

Elisa is an experienced industry journalist and is a regular contributor to a range of energy and infrastructure titles. She has a unique knack for quickly finding the angle in any story her audience is most interested in learning more about.

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