Is pumped storage the key to increasing renewables in Australia?

Is pumped storage the key to increasing renewables in Australia?

[ Curated :April 21, 2017 ]

Pumped storage hydropower projects are a natural fit in an energy market with a high penetration of renewable energy. This highly efficient form of large-scale energy storage could help mitigate challenges that come with the introduction of more wind and solar power into the market, with the potential to help to maximise the use of these renewables that are subject to the vagaries of weather. Furthermore, the recent completion of the feasibility study for Genex Power’s Kidston Pumped Storage Project in North Queensland by Entura shows this approach is now technically and commercially feasible.

Storage and system stability

As the proportion of renewable energy in an energy market increases, the need grows for the stability and consistency provided by utility-scale energy storage. For example, South Australia needs system-wide storage of 500MW for a period of 10hours to improve the flexibility of wind farm operators, according to the Melbourne Energy Institute. While at the smaller scale of energy storage, the buzz about various types of batteries continues – but the only storage option with a proven track record at the utility scale is pumped storage hydropower.


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