Rous Water looking at hydro power

ROUS WATER is considering installing a mini hydro-electric scheme at Howards' Grass just outside Lismore.

But it's not the kind of project that involves damming rivers or relocating towns.

The hydro scheme would generate electricity using pressure from water that is already delivered by gravity from Rocky Creek Dam, north of Lismore to Howards' Grass for distribution to Lismore.

The electricity would be supplied to the grid, creating revenue for the four councils who make up Rous Water.

Technical Services Director at Rous Water, Wayne Franklin, is writing a report on the viability of the scheme.

He said water pressure varies with demand, so the amount of electricity produced would vary as well.

"The only thing we can reliably do is put the electricity back into the grid because we don't have a demand for electricity that is so sporadic," he said.

Rous Water previously installed a mini hydro-electric scheme to Toonumbar Dam near Kyogle 12 years ago, but it was abandoned because of the drought and eventually became unserviceable with age.

The new scheme has been proposed by Rous Water deputy chair Cr Patrick Morrisey and supported by Cr Keith Johnson.

"The cost of electricity is going up and our electricity prices are very high, so any way to reduce costs should be investigated" Cr Morrisey said.

Hydro-electricity schemes on the Snowy River and at Lake Pedder in Tasmania have attracted controversy in Australia because of their environmental impact.

But Cr Johnson said a mini hydro scheme could harness wasted energy and reduce the carbon footprint of the councils.

"You always worry about people's perception as distinct from reality, but hydro-electric schemes don't all need dams. It's about possibilities," he said.

"If you go back 50 years, you just accepted some side effects (from the creation of energy) that were wasteful because the price of energy was so low, but the rules of the game have changed ... so those opportunities have to be taken advantage of more and more."

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