The potential for Tasmania’s energy system to be expanded is one step closer with 14 ‘high potential’ pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) sites identified across the state.
The PHES sites are located in Tasmania’s central highlands and on its north and west coasts and have a potential combined capacity of up to 4800MW. 30 ‘potential’ sites have been identified in Tasmania, with 14 sites across eight lakes now highlighted as ‘high potential’. Early modeling of this area also shows the construction of the PHES sites potentially creating up to $5 billion of investment and around 3000 jobs in regional Tasmania over the next 10 to 15 years.
Through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) the Turnbull Government has provided $300,000 in funding for Hydro Tasmania, to identify potential sites for cost-effective, reliable PHES. The project forms a part of the initiative announced by the Prime Minister in April 2017, of which $2.5 million has already been committed through ARENA.
The Turnbull government’s initiative which includes various planned projects (such as redeveloping existing hydroelectric power stations) is predicted to double Tasmania’s existing storage capacity. The business case study for a second Tasmanian interconnector is also set to improve the affordability and reliability of the National Electricity Market.
The next step for the 14 ‘high potential’ PHES sites is a 12-month feasibility assessment, including surveying and modelling both the market and water resource to identify environmental, cultural and social impacts.
“PHES is the most mature electrical energy storage system available, accounting for 97 per cent of energy storage worldwide,” said Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel in his review of the National Electricity Market.
The Turnbull Government has said in a statement they “put energy storage on the agenda to deliver a more affordable and reliable energy system for Australians”.
“Be it Snowy 2.0 in New South Wales and Victoria, large-scale batteries in Victoria and South Australia or pumped hydro in Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland, we are exploring, upgrading and expanding energy storage projects across the country,” voiced MP Josh Frydenberg, Minister for the Environment and Energy.