Water NSW has awarded Upper Hunter Hydro (UPP) the tender for the potential development of two new pumped hydro projects, which, once complete, could hold as much power as one million household batteries. 

As a successful applicant following a competitive tender process under WaterNSW’s Renewable Energy and Storage Program, UHH will get access to areas of WaterNSW land and reservoirs at Glenbawn and Glennies Creek dams outside Scone and Singleton in the Hunter Valley.

The pumped hydro projects, with an opportunity for integrated wind energy, are being investigated and led by UHH.

WaterNSW’s CEO, Andrew George, said the projects are the latest milestones in ongoing efforts to grow sustainability initiatives and identify renewable energy generation and storage opportunities on WaterNSW land and assets.

“We have an opportunity to not only assist the transition to a renewable energy power grid, but to also assist in the creation of jobs, support the local community, and generate revenue to put downward pressure on water costs for customers.

“We are continuing to assess sites across our portfolio to identify further opportunities.”

Mr George said WaterNSW has been working closely with the New South Wales Government to ensure the WaterNSW Renewable Energy and Storage Program is aligned with delivering the state’s objectives under the NSW Electricity Strategy.

“Our program fulfils an action of the NSW Pumped Hydro Roadmap of bringing forward private sector investment in pumped hydro schemes.”​

Glenbawn Dam is 10km east of Scone, and Glennies Creek Dam is 28km north of Singleton. The agreement gives UHH access to the sites for investigations to develop the proposal through the feasibility and planning stages. During this initial stage, UHH will seek to secure all necessary approvals and consent for their projects.

If successful, UHH will construct and operate the projects. Should they proceed, UHH estimates the combined projects could potentially generate 1,400 construction jobs and 80 ongoing operations roles.

UHH Director, Malcolm Turnbull, said pumped hydro projects would provide important support for industry and employment in the Hunter. 

“Australia has abundant wind and solar generation, some of the best in the world. But the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. Pumped hydro provides the long duration energy storage we need to make renewables available 24/7 and secure our clean energy future.”

UHH Director, Roger Gill, said that at over 1,000MW capacity for 8-12 hours, these projects will be much needed additions to Australia’s emerging suite of large energy storage projects. 

“UHH has a strong environmental sustainability focus and together with proven hydropower technology the projects will bring strong benefits to the region and the grid.”

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