The mighty flow in the Flinders River this week has highlighted the potential power of a planned 400,000 megalitre dam and hydroelectricity project for Hughenden.
Seeing the river in flood this week, HIPCo chair Shane McCarthy couldn’t help remark that it was a shame the project hadn’t been able to start two years ago.
The Hughenden Irrigation Project Corporation (HIPCo) is continuing to advance the project after a funding pledge of $180 million from Prime Minister Scott Morrison late last year.
As well as making use of the flow for crop irrigation and power, the project would assist in flood mitigation, he said
Mr McCarthy said the full HIPCo board and Cairns-based Koppen Construction, who will oversee the construction, had met with Federal and State MPs Bob and Robbie Katter on January 28 to discuss the project.
“We’ve gone further in proving up how much water is needed, what we can do with it and the hydroelectricity plan,” he said.
The proposed dam capacity has been lifted from the base case of 205,000 megalitres and HIPCo aims to include a 50MW hydro plant in the mix.
“We’ve been talking to the proponent for Copperstring and the Kennedy Energy Park along the way,” Mr McCarthy said.
He said HIPCo also had been talking to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for funding in addition to the $180 million budgeted by the Federal Government.
The selected site is about 15km north of Hughenden in the upper catchment of the Flinders River.
It is across the river from Flinders Shire Council’s proposed 15 Mile irrigation scheme and a parcel of land earmarked for a potential meatworks.
The upgraded proposal would irrigate about 15000ha.
HIPCo hopes to see construction start by the end of the year.