The CopperString renewable energy corridor, from Townsville to Mt Isa, always appeared to be a pipe dream, with fantastic expectations about the reliability of renewable energy generators (wind farms and solar & geothermal power stations). The big problem with renewable energy, of course, is that the supply of power is intermittent as it’s heavily dependent on the weather. It’s simply too big a risk for major industrial power customers. Hence it’s unsurprising that Xstrata has rejected CopperString, as reported in today’s Townsville Bulletin:
THE viability of the $1.5 billion CopperString project is under threat after Xstrata Mount Isa Mines yesterday opted out of the project.
The mine, which is the largest consumer of electricity in Mount Isa, yesterday announced it had agreed to a 17-year electricity and gas supply project.
The CopperString project, which involves constructing a 1000km high-voltage transmission line between Townsville and Mount Isa, was expected to create 5000 jobs and generate $6.5 billion for the region.
But the viability of the project is now under a cloud with Xstrata opting to purchase their electricity supply from Diamantina Power Station consortium from 2013 to 2030, with gas supply and pricing fixed until 2023.
CopperString project director Glenn Stockton said the project was now being reviewed to determine whether it would proceed.