Letters to the editor

GENERATION: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, right, with Snowy Hydro chief executive Paul Broad at the Tumut 3 power station on Thursday. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen
GENERATION: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, right, with Snowy Hydro chief executive Paul Broad at the Tumut 3 power station on Thursday. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen

Back to future power

IT seems our political leaders have finally rediscovered the 20th century as Australia has had three smaller pumped hydro systems generating electricity at Shoalhaven (240 megawatts), Wivenhoe (500MW) and Tumut (600MW) for over 30 years, and pumped hydro systems were first installed in Europe and America in the 1920s.

In 2014, there was 140 gigawatts of pumped hydro-generating capacity worldwide (about six times Australia’s average daily demand).

These systems work by pumping water from a low level water storage area to a high level water storage area in periods when excess power is available. In periods of high electricity demand this water is then recirculated (via a turbine to generate electricity) back to the low level storage.

There would be many suitable sites in Australia for their installation.

While a 100 megawatt battery can deliver 100MW for one hour, a 100MW pumped hydro system can deliver 100MW until the high level storage is empty.

For example, an existing 3GW pumped hydro facility in Virginia, USA, has a generating capacity of 30 gigawatt hours and can generate 3GW (about 13 per cent of Australia’s hourly average demand) for up to 10 hours.

Pumped hydro systems are still significantly cheaper than batteries for large installations and account for more than 90 per cent of world stored energy system capacity. Once installed their start-up involves little cost, and is almost instant, so they play an important role in both stabilizing the electricity grid and reducing the extreme power charges imposed during high demand periods.

- Richard Mallaby, Wangi Wangi

Water, water everywhere

I TELL you what, it's a good thing those geniuses down in Canberra built that desalination plant in southern Sydney. Imagine if we ran out of water! Who did we pay that invoice to anyway?

- Paul Kilshaw, Rathmines

Supercars to Doyalson

A CORRESPONDENT to the Newcastle Herald suggested, sarcastically, the Supercars should relocate to Morisset. At Doyalson, only a short drive away, on the approach to the M1 Motorway, is a proposed car race track, Casar Park, with all approvals in place, begging for financial assistance.

What Newcastle intends to spend over the next five years, for 15 days usage, would be more than enough to complete this circuit, not just for Supercars, but all motor sport clubs, 365 days a year.

I believe Doyalson, being a more central location between Sydney, the Central Coast, and Newcastle, is the perfect location for traffic flow, and parking arrangements. 

Some may scoff at money spent on race tracks, however from a business point of view Eastern Creek circuit at Sydney has permanent bookings filling most spots this year, extending into next year. How much do they charge? l believe thousands of dollars a day.

From a business perspective, it certainly deserves investigation, if not by a combined council enterprise then maybe big business as a shareholder with the owner.

- Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek

Monsoon hydro scheme

MALCOLM Turnbull’s idea to expand the Snowy River scheme is fantastic. I can recall a chap by the name of Steve Barnett suggesting some months ago this exact same thing only on a grander scale.

All the wasted monsoon rains should be put to use in exactly the same way as the Snowy Mountains scheme works.

Imagine the employment and the new world this would create through central Australia. Mr Turnbull is on $500,000 a year or so, Mr Barnett maybe $50,000 a year.

What is going on with these overpaid and un-achieving and unimaginative politicians?

- Brad Hill, Singleton