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ARENA provides funding to support pumped storage projects in Tasmania

Published 22 September 2017

A plan to double Tasmania’s energy capacity and make it the renewable Battery of the Nation has moved a step closer.

A shortlist of about 30 potential pumped hydro energy storage sites has been identified in four regional areas. Funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will help narrow that list to between 10 and 15 possible development sites.

When it’s fully realised, pumped hydro could generate up to 2,500 megawatts (MW) of electricity, which would double Tasmania’s current hydro capacity and provide flexible, dispatchable energy when it’s needed by customers.

It could also create up to $5 billion of infrastructure investment and up to 3,000 jobs across a 10 to 15 year construction period.

The shortlist includes four existing power stations with potential for pumped hydro conversion. The CEO of Hydro Tasmania, Steve Davy, and CEO of ARENA, Ivor Frischknecht, today inspected one of those stations – Cethana Power Station in north-west Tasmania.

In an exciting development for the north-west, Lake Cethana has already been assessed as having some of the best pumped hydro potential in Tasmania – with up to 1,000MW at one site.

Mr Davy said Tasmania is uniquely placed to help lead Australia through its challenging energy transition.

“The Battery of the Nation is about energy security and affordable prices,” Mr Davy said.

“Doubling Tasmania’s renewable energy capacity addresses three big challenges at once.

“It will lock in full energy security for Tasmania, help give Tasmanians some of the nation’s cheapest power prices, and give us plenty of spare energy to support mainland Australia.

“At a time when Australia badly needs flexible and storable energy to replace the coal power it’s phasing out, the Battery of the Nation offers a future that’s clean, reliable and affordable,” he said.

ARENA has committed up to $2.5 million for Battery of the Nation project studies, with funding to be matched by Hydro Tasmania.

The ARENA funding includes $300,000 for the initial study to assess and prioritise potential pumped hydro sites, and $500,000 to support feasibility studies into the Tarraleah and Gordon Power Station projects - which will boost efficiency and reliability.

ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht, said the Battery of the Nation studies, along with feasibility studies into Snowy Hydro 2.0, would examine how pumped hydro energy storage could play an expanded role in Australia’s energy mix, and help accelerate the transition to renewable energy.

“These feasibility studies are the first step towards significantly upgrading or replacing some of Tasmania’s existing power stations and introducing pumped hydro energy storage,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“With these projects, we could double Tasmania’s pumped hydro capacity and help power an additional 500,000 households. Tasmania could play a crucial role in helping to provide secure, reliable - and renewable - electricity for the National Energy Market,” he said.

Hydro Tasmania has ruled-out developing any pumped hydro sites in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and is not investigating new on-river dams. As Australia’s leading renewable energy business, Hydro Tasmania is strongly committed to values of sustainability, and has started close stakeholder consultation on the Battery of the Nation project.

Pumped hydro storage works by pumping water uphill (when surplus energy is available) so it can be re-used to generate electricity later.



Source: Company Press Release