Breadalbane – the wind industrial complex

The key thing to remember about wind energy is that the power of the wind is the cube of its speed. What this means is that the power of a 40 km/hr wind is eight (8) times that of wind blowing at 20 km/hr. West of Sydney, not far from the nation’s capital, you’ll find the wind industrial complex in all its beauty and power. With Merino sheep dotting the landscape, grassy fields and cattle roaming on this crisp countryside, you will find these huge metal structures (pictured) churning out electricity to provide energy for the national grid.

Not far away is the Snowy. Mountains scheme 2.0. The federal government is building a giant hydro electric facility where the water flows down pipes, spins turbines and creates the cleanest form of energy possible.

The Snowy 2.0 glossy brochure claims:

The ability to store water and generate power on-demand means Snowy 2.0 can be ‘switched on’ very quickly. Snowy 2.0 will pump water using the excess electricity in the system at times of low demand. Then, when energy is needed most, the stored water will be used to generate electricity within minutes.

For example, if the wind is blowing in the middle of the night when consumers are asleep, Snowy 2.0 can use the wind energy to pump and then store the water in the upper dam. When households wake up and the demand for energy soars, Snowy 2.0 can quickly generate energy for the grid.

The first power produced from Snowy 2.0 is expected in late 2024. We expect its operating life to be consistent with the Snowy Scheme’s existing assets, which continue to operate reliably and have been upgraded and technologically improved over the last 70 years.

Snowy Mountains ProjectDownload

However there is a proposal that they will use coal-fired or gas power stations electricity to pump the water back up into the dam and have it descend again to create clean energy once more. This is a worry particularly given the fact that there are solar panels and there’s wind energy nearby to do the same task. The federal government has declared its intentions by just pledging to spend $600M on a new gas fired station in the Hunter.

There is currently a problem with the grid because there’s an overproduction of solar energy and this is causing a real difficulty for the other forms of energy and maintenance of the grid. Well, this becomes an even more difficult question because much of the grid has been privatized in New South Wales. And in South Australia. The profit motive rules supreme for the economic rationalists. What we need is a good public owned national electricity grid, powered by renewables, sustainable energy.


There’s bit of road noise from the car. We didn’t stop listen to the wind turbines – one of the criticisms by the 5% who protest against them is noise.

Comments on Snowy Mountains Scheme 2.0

Here’s some criticism of the project … quite a bit of this is accurate particularly the use of coal fired power to pump the water back up as at present, as demand reduces greatly in the middle of the day due to solar and this forces the coal plant to cut output, which they struggle to do and costs them money. So the pumped hydro helps keep the coal plant loaded up pumping water. That’s what Split Yard Creek pumped hydro storage at Wivehoe Dam was used for.   Gas plant can respond quicker to changes in demand and changes in solar output, so that’s why they are pushing gas. But gas is now more costly and not as responsive as batteries.



Ian Curr
25 May 2021
4PR – Voice of the People