Lake Borumba, Queensland
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A package of underground works as part of the Borumba Pumped Hydro Project in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Queensland, is now open for Expressions of Interest (EOI).

The project is set to be delivered by public energy company Queensland Hydro. The EOI for the underground works marks the first step in the most significant program to be delivered during the exploratory works phase of the project.

The package will involve the excavation of soil and rock utilising controlled blast and drilling methods, rather than tunnel boring machine, to form a D-shaped tunnel leading to the proposed site of the underground powerhouse cavern.

This tunnelling will complement surface geological investigations, which together will provide a detailed understanding of ground conditions to inform detailed design of the project and how it is best delivered.

The works will be accompanied by the required environmental approvals and once complete, the excavated tunnel will be repurposed to become a permanent cable tunnel.

The EOI release follows the coordinator–general’s coordinated project declaration on 12 October 2023, signalling the start of the rigorous assessment of social, economic and environmental matters before the project’s main works can begin.

The first of the Queensland Government’s two foundational hydropower energy storage projects, the 2,000MW Borumba Pumped Hydro Project will charge up from excess wind and solar generated in the state’s south east to keep the lights on for up to two millions households.

Once underway, the project’s main works will create more than 2,000 jobs during construction, and boost the regional economy by tens of millions.

Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said, “Experts and responsible leaders around the world are recognising the critical role of pumped hydropower in unlocking the capacity of renewables and delivering the clean energy transition.

“Pumped hydro offers a trifecta of opportunity, by driving sustainable economic growth, bringing wealth and equality to more communities, and combating climate change.

“This next phase of works on the Borumba Pumped Hydro Project shows how committed Queensland Hydro and the Queensland Government are to delivering this key clean energy project.

“Throughout construction the project will deliver a significant uplift in jobs and a boost to the regional economy, and once completed, it will also deliver cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy for all Queenslanders.

“As the cornerstone of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, our pumped hydro projects will ensure Queensland remains on track to meeting its renewable energy targets, while ensuring we can continue to put ongoing downward pressure on electricity bills for years to come,” Mr de Brenni said. 

Queensland Hydro Chief Executive Officer, Kieran Cusack, said, “Queensland Hydro is pleased to release this EOI to the market. We’re excited about this release because it’s the first major package of works since we launched our industry engagement program in July, with three industry events held in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gympie.

“Attendees came from a broad range of industry including contractors, local suppliers, service suppliers, consultants, equipment suppliers and potential industry partners.

“We’ve been working with industry to ensure we attract the best partners for the project while creating opportunities for local industry involvement.

“Queensland Hydro will work with the successful contractor to maximise opportunities for local and Indigenous businesses and workers to be prepared for, and access opportunities on the exploratory works program,” Mr Cusack said.

Assistant Editor, Utility magazine

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