Pumped hydro in NSW

WaterNSW has awarded development agreements to investigate pumped hydro projects at four of its sites across the state.  

Agreements put in place include: 

  • Lake Burragorang in western Sydney, for ZEN Energy to investigate repurposing a disused coal washery site 24km upstream from the Warragamba Dam wall as a pumped hydro project capable of generating 1,000MW for up to eight hours at peak times 
  • Glenbawn and Glennies Creek dams in the Hunter Valley, for Upper Hunter Hydro (UHH) to investigate two projects capable of storing more than 1,000MW for between eight and 12 hours – as much power as one million household batteries 
  • Burrendong Dam in the Central West, for ACEN Australia to investigate its Phoenix pumped hydro project capable of generating 810MW with storage for up to 12 hours 

With the projects tendered under WaterNSW’s Renewable Energy and Storage Program, the companies will have access to areas of WaterNSW land and reservoirs to conduct feasibility studies. 

WaterNSW Chief Executive Officer, Andrew George, said the projects are the latest developments in ongoing efforts to grow sustainability initiatives and identify renewable energy generation and storage opportunities on WaterNSW land holdings 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,” Mr George said. 

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

WaterNSW has been working 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 New South Wales Electricity Strategy, Mr George said. 

“Our program fulfills an action of the New South Wales Pumped Hydro Roadmap of bringing forward private sector investment in pumped hydro schemes,” Mr George said. 

UHH Director, Malcolm Turnbull, said pumped hydro projects could provide important support for local industry and employment in the Hunter, but also play an important role in transitioning to renewables across the state. 

“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,” Mr Turnbull said. 

“Pumped hydro provides the long duration energy storage we need to make renewables available 24/7 and secure our clean energy future.” 

Image: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/concrete-warragamba-dam-on-river-locking-1178510401  

Assistant Editor, Utility magazine

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