State backs pumped hydro

PUMPED HYDRO: Water will be pumped from a lower reservoir into the higher one when energy is cheap then — when demand for power is high and prices rise — run back down again and put through a turbine to generate electricity.
PUMPED HYDRO: Water will be pumped from a lower reservoir into the higher one when energy is cheap then — when demand for power is high and prices rise — run back down again and put through a turbine to generate electricity.

South Australia continues to move towards renewable energy and Port Augusta remains at the forefront. 

The state government have backed four new pumped hydro energy storage projects in the Upper Spencer Gulf with almost $9 million in grants from the Renewable Technology Fund. 

The projects, two of which are located near Port Augusta, total 750MW of generation capacity to the South Australian grid.

“The key to lowering power prices in South Australia is boosting competition, and these projects have the potential to dispatch cheap renewable energy when demand is high,” Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said.

“Storage of renewable energy is the future and South Australia has entrenched itself as a hub for the development of large-scale storage projects.”

250MW of that storage could come from the Goat Hill project located at Lincoln Gap, 12 kilometres west of Port Augusta.

 ENERGY: Altura Group Manager of Approvals and Environment Mark Endersby and Senior Project Engineer Sinja Pejanovic spoke to residents about the Goat Hill Pumped Storage Hydro Project in November last year.

ENERGY: Altura Group Manager of Approvals and Environment Mark Endersby and Senior Project Engineer Sinja Pejanovic spoke to residents about the Goat Hill Pumped Storage Hydro Project in November last year.

The $410 million project has received a $4.7 million grant to go towards development phase activities before a final investment decision is to be made. 

Construction could begin as early as the second half of 2018 and the project is expected to deliver 200 employment opportunities over two and a half years – with 15 operational jobs available at the facility from the end of 2020 and beyond. 

Altura Group’s Goat Hill Project is one of two pumped hydro projects in the works for Port Augusta.

Energy Australia also secured funding for the Cultana Pumped Hydro Project located on Shack Road near Commissariat Point.

The $500,000 grant will go towards engineering and design activities, following the completion of a successful feasibility study last year.  

UPPER SPENCER GULF: satellite image shows basic layout of proposed pumped hydro facility at Cultana. IMAGE: Energy Australia.

UPPER SPENCER GULF: satellite image shows basic layout of proposed pumped hydro facility at Cultana. IMAGE: Energy Australia.

Julian Turecek, Head of Assets at Energy Australia, said the $447 million project would require a significant amount of work before reaching a final investment decision. 

“Pumped hydro has great potential to integrate intermittent renewable supply into the grid in a way that delivers reliable, affordable energy,” Mr Turecek said.

“We are very grateful for the support from the South Australian government as we develop solutions for Australia’s modern energy system.”

Also included in the handout were projects located north-east of Port Germain and at the Iron Duchess mine site in the Middleback Ranges.