Pumped hydro projects secure funding in Australia

The government of the Australian state of Queensland has committed AUD 48 million ($33 million) to develop two pumped hydro projects.

From pv magazine Australia

The Australian state of Queensland has announced a AUD 48 million investment, as part of its 2022-23 state budget, to advance two new large-scale pumped hydro energy storage projects.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said AUD 13 million had been allocated in the state budget set to be tabled on June 21 to accelerate key technical studies to enable a final investment decision on the proposed 1GW/24GWh Borumba pumped hydro project being developed near the southeastern city of Gympie.

Another AUD 35 million has been budgeted to advance a statewide search for a site for a second pumped hydro project to support the switch to renewables with storage seen as the key to unlocking Queensland’s renewable energy resources. Queensland is home to eight coal-fired power stations but the state government has committed to achieving zero net emissions by 2050, including a 50% renewable energy target by 2030.

Dick said growing Queensland’s energy storage capacity through pumped hydro, batteries and hydrogen is crucial to fully realising the state’s renewable energy opportunities and contributing to reliability and affordability.

“Renewable energy now accounts for more than 20% of Queensland’s energy generation, and we’re committed to powering that further,” he said. “Large-scale pumped hydro energy has the capacity to deliver a reliable supply of energy in an economic way.”

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Energy Minister Mick De Brenni said the AUD 48 million investment set out a new path to storing renewable energy with pumped hydro to “play a critical role securing the future of Queensland’s energy system with a reliable supply of dispatchable power. As Queensland charges towards its renewable energy target, large-scale storage projects like pumped hydro will enable the continued investment in wind and solar.”

The government’s latest investment includes up to AUD 13 million to fast-track the development of the 1GW pumped hydro project being developed at the 46,000- megaliter Borumba Dam near Gympie.

The state government has already called for tenders for the project, which would feature 24 hours of storage, while work on a nearby 176 MW solar farm has also commenced.

“This funding will support detailed analytical studies that will consider the long-term benefits of this proposed large-scale storage project,” de Brenni said. “Powerlink is managing the design and cost analysis, while extensive community and stakeholder consultation will heavily inform all final decisions.”

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