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AU$7 Million for New South Wales Million Pumped Hydro Project

As many as 400,000 NSW households could soon be powered by renewable electricity generated at the Phoenix Pumped Hydro station after the project received AU$7 million in support from the NSW Government to progress feasibility studies.

The Phoenix Pumped Hydro project, located at the Burrendong Dam, near Wellington and within the Central West Orana REZ, will provide 810MW of capacity and storage for up to 12 continuous hours of electricity generation.

The region’s Minister for Energy said pumped hydro will form an essential building block of the electricity system of the future. He noted that pumped hydro acts like a giant battery for the electricity system. It works by using surplus renewable energy to pump water up a hill when it is sunny and windy and releasing the water back down the hill through giant turbines that create electricity when it is still and dark.

The grant funding along with development access will play a key role in fast-tracking the development of pumped hydro, which will be critical to replace our ageing coal fire power stations, the Minister added.

The Minister for Lands and Water noted that through the WaterNSW’s Renewable Energy and Storage Programme, WaterNSW is looking at ways to leverage its land and assets to deliver benefits for future energy security and its customers.

WaterNSW is looking to the market to identify renewable generation and storage opportunities on WaterNSW land and assets. This will allow WaterNSW to work with the government to support the renewable energy transition and at the same time look for innovative ways to keep our customers’ bills as low as possible.

The project will be funded by the NSW Pumped Hydro Recoverable Grants Programme and a Development Agreement under WaterNSW’s Renewable Energy and Storage Programme. It is expected to be operational by 2030 and would play a key role in providing dispatchable, long-duration storage to support energy market security.

The NSW Government committed a further AU$24 million to the Pumped Hydro Recoverable Grants Programme in the June Budget. This funding is expected to expand the pipeline of pumped hydro projects that can make competitive bids for Long-Term Energy Service Agreements for long-duration storage.

The NSW Government will also invest AU$23.5 million to undertake feasibility studies to develop pumped hydro projects on key WaterNSW assets throughout the State. The outcomes of these feasibility studies and the potential opportunities will be made available to the private sector in early 2023.

About WaterNSW’s Renewable Energy and Storage Programme

Through its Renewable Energy and Storage Programme, WaterNSW aims to identify opportunities to use its land and assets to support renewable energy generation and storage projects. The programme will work to support the energy market’s transition to renewable generation technologies and provide a reliable and affordable energy supply.

WaterNSW and the NSW Government have been working closely together to ensure the programme is aligned with delivering the State’s objectives under the NSW Electricity Strategy. The programme fulfils an action of the NSW Pumped Hydro Roadmap of bringing forward private sector investment in pumped hydro schemes. It also plays a key role in WaterNSW’s commitment to being a socially and environmentally responsible organisation.

Via a competitive tender process, WaterNSW has appraised private sector proposals against requirements including the contribution to future energy security, compatibility with WaterNSW assets and operations and maximising the value of the State’s investment in WaterNSW.

Successful projects are offered a Development Agreement which provides access to WaterNSW land and other arrangements to support the development of the project for approval.

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