By Arthur Gorrie
Imbil will get first go at public consultation next week on a Borumba Dam “mega energy project“ claimed to be comparable to the Snowy Mountains Scheme.
Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the project, “second only to the Snowy Mountains scheme,“ would add to Queensland’s significant hydro-power history.
It would also be a significant advance for renewable energy in Queensland and would need thousands of workers during construction.
“Barron Gorge Hydro has been generating 66 megawatts in the pristine hinterland behind Cairns since 1963 and the Wivenhoe pumped storage units regularly deliver 570 megawatts of stored energy, vital to renewable electricity generation in South-East Queensland.
“Now we have identified Borumba Dam in the hinterland near Imbil as one of the best potential sites for this next mega energy project.“ one which would possibly be “one of the largest in the nation, second only behind the Snowy scheme“
He said Borumba was favoured because of its location “inside the southern renewable zone,“ and near “the high-voltage transmission network, existing dam infrastructure and good land access.“
He said the scale of the project meant it would “play a significant role in our renewable energy transformation.“
“It will deliver more clean energy storage. It will support more than 2000
construction jobs for local tradies.
“It has potential to power 1.5 million homes and enable more than 2000 megawatts of new renewables to enter South-East Queensland.“
The government’s transmission company, Powerlink, had commissioned detailed analytical studies to determine the dam’s capability and manage its “critical role in the health of the surrounding ecosystem.“
“Our pathway to a clean energy future must deliver the best for not only the state’s energy network but also the local community.
“We recognise the critical role stakeholder input will have in an informed and careful handling of the Borumba Dam site and we are committed to engaging early and often.
He announced public consultation, at Imbil next Wednesday and in Gympie on the Thursday.
“Locals are welcome to drop in,“ he said.
“These sessions will facilitate direct engagement from the community, with one-on-one discussions with the project team,“ he said.
He paid tribute to the contributions of “traditional custodians, the Kabi Kabi nation“ “the Sunshine Coast Environment Council“ saying both were “proud advocates for this superb ecosystem and its communities.“
He also included the Lake Borumba Fish Stocking Association, along with Gympie Regional Council, for their interest in the project.
He said the project was of “intergenerational“ significance and would benefit “the local workforce, water security and tourism.“
“Our progress on this clean energy storage mega project demonstrates our down payment on a clean energy future, bringing clean energy jobs and lower emissions to Queensland,“ he said.
Public consultation sessions will be held from 3pm to 7pm, at Imbil on Wednesday (1 December) and in Gympie the following day.
Wednesday’s session will be held at the Mary Valley Memorial Hall (Imbil RSL) and Thursday’s will be at Gympie RSL.
Potential environmental impacts would be considered when the Queensland Government determined if the project should move ahead, he said.