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Snowy Hydro gets a boost, but 'seawater hydro' could help South Australia

By Roger Dargaville

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The federal government has announced a A$2 billion plan to expand the iconic Snowy Hydro scheme. It will carry out a feasibility study into the idea of adding “pumped hydro” storage capacity, which it says could power up to 500,000 homes. The Conversation

Hydro is one of the oldest and most mature electricity generation technologies. And pumped hydro storage – in which water is pumped uphill for later use, rather than simply flowing downriver through a hydro power station – is the dominant form of energy storage globally.

But there are limitations to how much freshwater hydro can be accessed, so it’s worth looking at what alternate approaches are available. One promising prospect is to use seawater instead of rivers. This tactic could potentially help South Australia resolve its highly publicised energy problems.

Hydro basics

The principle behind conventional hydro power is straightforward: rainwater runoff feeds a river, which is dammed to create a large reservoir of water. This is then gradually released through pipes to a turbine at the foot of the dam, thus converting the...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.