“The Albanian government takes note of the resignation today of Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad after nearly 10 years of service and thanks him for his work in the energy market during that period.”
The board, which is headed by former Santos chief executive David Knox, will now begin a process to find a new chief executive, with chief operating officer Roger Whitby to lead the company on an interim basis.
Whitby will have “the support of Paul to facilitate a smooth transition,” Snowy said.
The sudden departure of Mr Broad, former chief executive of Infrastructure NSW, comes midway through construction of the multibillion-dollar Snowy 2.0 pumped-storage project, which has been plagued by cost increases and delays amid the COVID-19 pandemic. , exacerbated by its remote location, global supply chain problems and rising inflation.
The $5.1bn project was the previous coalition government’s flagship solution for the accelerated exit from coal-fired power generation, which requires significant reaffirmation capacity, including storage to support intermittent wind and solar power.
Snowy has been in negotiations with the project’s main contractor, the Future Generation joint venture, over a revised schedule for completing construction and a revised budget.
The Herald of Newcastle reported that Mr. Bowen sacked Mr. Broad after Snowy’s boss raised doubts about the government’s vision of converting the $600 million Kurri Kurri gas-fired peak power plant to run on hydrogen.
When in opposition, the federal Labor Party initially opposed the Coalition government’s decision to go ahead with taxpayer-funded gas power station construction, but reversed that position in January depending on Snowy turning it to run on green hydrogen faster, including 100 percent. green hydrogen by 2030.
Critics noted that this could make the generator more expensive to run, given the current high costs of green hydrogen production, with no guarantee that it will be affordable or available in required quantities by the end of the decade.
Snowy’s statement said that to the local community and internal team, Broad “will continue to be best known for his extraordinary leadership during incredibly challenging periods, including the 2019/2020 wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He also endorsed the role that Snowy 2.0 would play in supporting Australia’s energy market transition to low carbon energy.
“Snowy 2.0 is a world-leading and nation-defining infrastructure project,” the company said. “It will support the transition to a decarbonized National Electricity Market and now employs more than 2,000 people, generating a great economic boost in the Snowy Mountains.”