The country’s hydropower resources are largely concentrated in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, the latter of which is heavily reliant on hydro for its electricity generation.
The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, which spans both New South Wales and Victoria, is Australia’s largest hydropower scheme, consisting of 16 major dams and nine power stations with a combined capacity of 4,100 MW.
As the driest inhabited continent on Earth, water availability is a key constraint on future growth for hydroelectricity in Australia, with the majority of suitable sites having already been developed. Growth in the sector is expected to be limited to small-scale hydroelectric projects and upgrading and refurbishing existing infrastructure but pumped storage may prove to be an increasingly important component of Australia’s electricity market.
The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, the largest and most complex engineering project ever undertaken in Australia, was honoured in 2016 with its inclusion on the National Heritage List. Constructed between 1949 and 1974, and built by more than 100,000 people from over 30 countries, the Snowy Mountains scheme joins other Australian icons on the list, such as the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef.
Blog: The Australian government has put hydropower back in the spotlight
The Australian government has made hydropower a priority agenda item, to help deliver a more reliable and affordable energy system for all Australians, writes Minister for the Environment and Energy, Hon Josh Frydenberg MP in an article for IHA's 2018 Hydropower Status Report. Read more
Blog: Becoming the Battery of the Nation
How can a small island become a giant battery for a nation? We’re finding the answers in increasing interconnection, developing new pumped hydro and repurposing our existing hydropower assets, writes Tammy Chu, IHA Vice President and Managing Director of Entura, Hydro Tasmania. Read more
Read our detailed country profile in the 2017 Hydropower Status Report.