Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced plans to investigate hydro-electricity for Burdekin Falls Dam.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced plans to investigate hydro-electricity for Burdekin Falls Dam. DAN PELED

Hydro power station plans west of Mackay

QUEENSLAND'S largest dam could become electrified as the State Government investigates the possibility of building a hydro-electric power station north-west of Bowen.

Announced on her visit to Townsville on Sunday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government would invest to develop a business case for developing power from Burdekin Falls Dam.

This comes as assessments are under way to increase the dam's capacity by 150,000 megalitres to more than two million.

"Today I'm calling on the Prime Minister to work with my Government as we develop a Burdekin Hydro business case,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

"This will complement the existing Koombooloomba, Kareeya and Barron Gorge hydro power stations currently operating in North Queensland.”

While she promoted her policy of hydro-electricity generation, Ms Palaszczuk also criticised the Federal Government on its support for a coal-fired power station close to Townsville.

"These should be priorities for the Turnbull Government's untapped $5billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and its infrastructure investment,” she said.

"Generating hydro-electricity off the Burdekin Falls Dam... is more realistic and viable than a hypothetical and expensive coal-fired power station," the Premier said.

The hydro-electric potential in the Burdekin has been discussed since the 1940s.

If built, it's hoped the station would generate 150 gigawatt hours of electricity, or roughly the annual energy use of 30,000 homes.

Not usual allies, briefly after Ms Palaszczuk's announcement the Queensland Resources Council came out in support of the State Government's investment.

"The establishment of a small hydroelectric power station at the state's largest dam will add much needed supply into the east coast electricity market,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

"Once again Queensland is setting an example for southern states on how to run a balanced energy policy by considering all options, coal, gas, renewables, to deliver affordable, reliable energy.”

However, despite his support of hydro-electricity, Mr Macfarlane still supported the construction of a coal-fired power plant.