The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is finalising a $450,000 grant to EnergyAustralia to develop a pumped hydro energy storage project in the Upper Spencer Gulf, South Australia.
EnergyAustralia Managing Director Catherine Tanna today briefed the Government’s Energy Committee of Cabinet on the project - one of a range of emerging cost-effective technologies that can help deliver security and stability in the electricity grid.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull convened the Cabinet Committee to drive energy security, reliability and affordability.
The Committee is working on repairing the instability in our electricity system, which is hurting households and businesses that have to deal with unrealistic renewable energy targets, particularly in South Australia.
Energy storage is critically important to respond to the challenges posed by intermittent generation.
Pumped hydro energy storage is a mature and cost-effective storage technology that can help address the need for security and stability in the electricity grid.
The Government has already provided significant support for large-scale energy storage projects and research with $220 million of funding for a suite of energy storage projects across the country. For example:
- ARENA is supporting a study by ANU to develop a map of potential sites for off-river pumped hydro projects.
- Together with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, ARENA is assisting Genex Power to investigate the feasibility of a pumped storage hydro power plant at the disused Kidston Gold Mine in North Queensland. This has potential to generate up to 250MW of rapid response flexible power for the National Electricity Market (NEM).
At the Government’s request, ARENA and the CEFC have agreed to work together on a priority new funding round for large-scale storage and other flexible capacity projects including pumped hydro.
Energy Australia will continue to consult with local stakeholders, including the Department of Defence.