"By supercharging the Snowy Hydro precinct, we can ensure affordable and reliable electricity for Australian households and businesses." So said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the launch of this scheme in 2017. He noted that the expansion would create thousands of engineering and construction jobs and have no impact on water supplied to irrigators in New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. However, given that this upgrade will involve considerable physical disruption to many of Australia's fragile alpine landscapes, what are the environmental and social costs of the scheme?
The Fenner School of Environment and Society has brought together five expert speakers to discuss the pros and cons of this 'nation building' project:
Professor Andrew Blakers (ANU Research School of Engineering)
Andrew is one of Australia's leading researchers and proponents of solar photovoltaic energy and pumped hydro energy storage.
Professor Adrienne Nicotra (Research School of Biology)
Adrienne is a plant ecologist with many years experience researching the impacts of development, catchment management and threatened species in the Snowy Mountains.
Associate Professor Jamie Pittock (Fenner School of Environment and Society)
Jamie is a policy analyst with a keen interest in environmental trade-offs and offsets. When it comes to pumped hydro, he believes more stored power has many benefits for climate change mitigation and the project should also underpin other environmental benefits.
Ms Acacia Rose (Acacia Rose Media)
Acacia has been a tireless campaigner for the return of environmental flows to the Snowy River and a leading member of the Snowy River Alliance
Together they will discuss: What are the big costs and benefits of Snowy 2.0? 2. What aspects of Snowy 2.0 haven't been given much public exposure to this point? And how could the benefits of Snowy 2.0 be maximised and the costs minimised?
Chairing this Public Forum will be Professor Saul Cunningham, Director of the Fenner School of Environment and Society.
After the forum guests are invited to tea and coffee and light snacks and discuss what they have heard.