Australia’s largest ever renewable energy project, Snowy 2.0, has been given the green light to create thousands of new jobs and put downward pressure on electricity prices.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that Commonwealth environmental approval for the project has been granted after a rigorous environmental process.
“This marks the final step in the planning and approvals phase and the beginning of a new wave of jobs and investment for the region, which will guarantee clean, affordable energy and position our country for the future,” the Prime Minister said.
“Just as the original Snowy Hydro project brought jobs and prosperity to Australia after the Second World War, Snowy 2.0 will help Australia grow its way out of the economic challenges from the coronavirus.
“Already Snowy 2.0 is creating a jobs boom, with over 100 local businesses benefiting from the Government’s investment to date, with much more local investment to come.”
Over the life of the project Snowy 2.0 will create 4,000 direct jobs, as well as many more indirect jobs as flow-on benefits are realised by local businesses and the broader region.
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the rigorous environmental assessment underlined the importance of the bilateral assessment with NSW.
“Not only has the approval paved the way for critical infrastructure that will help the environment, it has ensured vital funding for protecting the area’s biodiversity,” Minister Ley said.
“The final Commonwealth review resulted in additional conditions around heritage, public transparency on data used to underpin mitigation strategies and the protection of native fish species.
“The approval process ensures the development is built and operated in a way that sensitively avoids, mitigates and rehabilitates environmental impacts while protecting the environment and its rich biodiversity as we move to a clean energy future.”
As part of the approval, Snowy Hydro will invest almost $100 million in biodiversity and environmental enhancements, including establishing an offset fund of up to $73.8m through the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to protect threatened species and deliver long-term conservation outcomes.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said Snowy Hydro 2.0 is a vital project for the National Electricity Market.
“Snowy 2.0 will provide an additional 2,000 megawatts of fast-start, dispatchable energy and provide 350,000 megawatt hours of large-scale storage, enough to power the equivalent of 500,000 homes for over a week during peak demand,” Minister Taylor said.
“It will reduce volatility in the market, support reliability and bring down power prices for Australian families and businesses.
“Snowy 2.0 is a key part of the Government’s agenda to deliver affordable, reliable power and ensure Australians get a fair deal on energy.”