EnergyAustralia has been awarded $11 million of funding as part of the NSW Government’s Pumped Hydro Recoverable Grants program to progress feasibility studies for its pumped hydro facility in the Central Tablelands.
EnergyAustralia will contribute a further $17 million towards these studies for this state-significant project.
The funding announcement comes as EnergyAustralia focuses on developing large-scale low emissions energy projects to achieve net zero by 2050, including Australia’s first carbon offset gas and hydrogen capable power plant near Wollongong and several battery projects.
Located on EnergyAustralia land at Lake Lyell near Lithgow, the pumped hydro project would see the development of a purpose-built facility that uses existing infrastructure, water and nearby transmission lines to provide large-scale energy storage.
Pumped hydro is recognised as the most established form of large-scale energy storage. Using a proposed new 4.4 gigalitre dam, the project would quickly release water to generate energy at times when power supplies are needed and cannot be delivered by other forms of generation – supporting reliable, affordable and cleaner power for homes.
The project is in the feasibility phase, if built it has the potential to provide 335 megawatts of electricity with around eight hours of storage, enough to power over 150,0001 households during peak demand.
While owned by EnergyAustralia as part of Mt Piper power station’s water supply system, Lake Lyell has public access and is a popular recreational and tourism spot. Extensive technical studies will consider the lake’s environmental and community significance as part of the project’s planning process.
Community consultation will be a key activity as feasibility studies progress. EnergyAustralia will also be looking at how to share project benefits with the community.
Four of NSW’s five remaining coal-fired plants are scheduled for retirement between 2023 and 2035, alternative technologies are needed to store energy and release it into the grid when demand is high and renewables aren’t available.
Pumped hydro is considered highly promising, with the Australian Energy Market Operator identifying a ‘critical need’ for a portfolio of energy storage solutions to efficiently distribute renewable energy and support the smooth operation of intermittent forms of generation. For more information visit: energyaustralia.com.au.
Quotes attributable to EnergyAustralia Trading, Transition and Reputation Executive, Ross Edwards:
“This is an exciting next step for the Lake Lyell pumped hydro project and we look forward to undertaking feasibility studies and continuing to work with the community to plan for our energy future.”
“We thank the NSW Government for its support, and we are pleased to be working toward the common goal of exploring pumped hydro’s potential and contributing to the energy transition.”
“Lake Lyell pumped hydro would continue Lithgow’s proud history of power generation into the future and repurpose existing infrastructure to support our energy transition, while creating local jobs.”
1 Based on a POE10 demand of 1.97kW for EnergyAustralia’s portfolio of NSW residential customers at 335MW of generation.
The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the NSW Government. The NSW Government does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained herein.