Entura develops pumped hydro atlas of Australia

An atlas of pumped hydro energy storage opportunities has identified 5000 sites across Australia.

Entura was engaged by Hydro Tasmania to develop the atlas to support development of dispatchable renewable energy generation.

The atlas has already been applied to inform and enable Hydro Tasmania to shortlist potential pumped hydro sites for the Battery of the Nation program in Tasmania.

Completed in October 2017, the Pumped Hydro Atlas of Australia identified more than 5000 unique potential sites across Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) to enable greater penetration of renewables in the country.

“The Pumped Hydro Atlas of Australia is a real-world, relevant resource informing future project development,” Entura director of customer strategy and market development Dale Bryce said.

“To determine the best possible sites, our analysis took into account not only topographical suitability, but also considered all the practical factors involved in creating a viable and successful project.”

Following an exhaustive process, 20 promising sites were shortlisted for different states with a desktop review of geology, high-level engineering arrangements, and approvals requirements.

For each site a map was prepared including locality, land use, planning zones, and key characteristics of the potential project.

Mr Bryce said pumped hydro energy storage had the potential to generate rapid response, flexible power for delivery into the NEM.

“It’s a highly efficient form of large-scale energy storage that could help mitigate challenges that may come with the introduction of more renewables into the market,” he said.

“Overlaying the outputs of this atlas with any new wind and solar development across the NEM could identify viable dispatchable renewable energy generation hubs with the potential to replace retiring thermal generation assets.”

Entura has completed the technical feasibility study for Genex Power’s Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project in Queensland and is currently supporting pumped hydro project proponents in South Australia, as well as continuing to support the Battery of the Nation program.

The firm has also been involved in a number of wind, solar and hybrid renewables projects in Australia and internationally, supporting development, grid integration and connection studies.