Australian energy generator, AGL Energy Ltd has secured the right to develop, own and operate a 250-megawatt pumped hydro energy storage project at Hillgrove Resources Limited’s Kanmantoo Copper Mine in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia.
The contract allows AGL to transform the Kanmantoo open pit mine into a pumped hydro facility, while Hillgrove will retain processing and mining rights outside the Giant Pit.
AGL’s Executive General Manager of Wholesale Markets, Richard Wrightson said the signing of binding agreements was the start of a multiple stage process to progress the project, including the lodgement of a development application in 2020.
“If we proceed and the project is approved, it would be an important addition to our technology mix in South Australia, where we have significant wind and thermal generation,” he said.
“It would help us to meet the changing needs of the South Australian energy market, in which energy storage assets are likely to be needed to provide dispatchable capacity as renewables generation increases over coming years.”
If all approvals are received, the project is expected to be complete and operating by 2024.
AGL would buy the land required for the project from Hillgrove shortly after a final investment decision, which is expected to be made following the completion of processing at Kanmantoo as early as this year.
Kanmantoo resides between Mount Barker and Murray Bridge, approximately 50 kilometres east of Adelaide and has been operating since 2010, following initial production from 1970 to 1976.
Hillgrove CEO, Steve McClare believes the project would greatly benefit South Australia, which already has a strong reputation for renewable energy and successful storage projects.
“The trust, support and growth of the community around Kanmantoo have been deeply valued by us and we are pleased to have found a solution that will continue to bring economic benefits, not just to the local community, but to South Australia more broadly,” he said.