ARENA funds Tasmanian plans to be renewable Battery of the Nation


Tasmania is looking to position itself as the 'renewable Battery of the Nation' with aims to generate up to 2,500 megawatts (MW) of electricity, double the state's current hydro capacity, from pumped hydro energy sources.

A shortlist of about 30 potential pumped hydro energy storage sites has been identified in four regional areas, and that will be narrowed down to between 10 and 15 possible development sites.

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

The shortlist includes four existing power stations with potential for pumped hydro conversion. One of those is Lake Cethana which has already been assessed as having some of the best pumped hydro potential in Tasmania – with up to 1,000MW at one site.

The CEO of Hydro Tasmania, Steve Davy said that doubling Tasmania’s renewable energy capacity would address 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.

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.

More information is at https://www.hydro.com.au/energy/battery-nation

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