Pumped hydropower storage plant to be developed in Australia

Out-Law News | 22 Dec 2020 | 6:55 am | 1 min. read

The renewable energy division of General Electric (GE) and BE Power Group have agreed to co-develop a 400 megawatts (MW) pumped hydro storage project at Cressbrook dam in Toowoomba, Australia.

GE Renewable Energy's Hydro Solutions will work with BE Power to optimise and finalise the design of the plant, assist with securing finance and start commercial operation. The 'Big-T' project is the first new pumped storage hydro project to be completed in Queensland in more than 35 years.

Once operational, the hydropower plant will produce enough electricity to meet the demand of 20,000 homes in Queensland. It will store energy absorbed from excess wind and solar farms when pumping.

George Varma, an energy expert at Pinsent Masons, the firm behind Out-Law, said, "This is an important step in managing baseload power in the Australian electricity market, which has been a challenge in recent years. This project will no doubt provide another avenue for power storage and ultimately assist with flattening the 'duck curve' and thereby assisting with bringing down electricity prices."

This project is expected to help Queensland achieve its 50% renewable energy target by 2030, a statement said.

Pumped hydropower storage is a type of hydroelectric energy storage. It is a system of two water reservoirs at different elevations, which can generate power as water moves down through a turbine; this draws power as it pumps water to the upper reservoir.

The Queensland government previously promised to set aside A$500m ($367.9m) for renewable energy development in the region in 2020/21 and committed A$145m ($107.7m) to establish three renewable energy zones in northern, central and southern Queensland.