Researchers identify 185 possible pumped storage sites for Australia

22 June 2017

Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have identified 185 sites in South Australia that are potentially suitable for pumped hydro storage development.

The ANU team recently released the South Australia pumped hydro energy storage atlas which identifies and maps the possible sites,

"Our work shows that there are many sites in South Australia that may be suitable for establishing pumped hydro storage, to help build a sustainable, secure and affordable electricity grid," said Professor Andrew Blakers, the study's lead researcher from the ANU Research School of Engineering.

"This assessment is based on very appealing physical characteristics, but the 185 potential upper reservoir sites identified would require detailed due diligence involving land ownership, engineering, hydrological, environmental and other considerations."

Professor Blakers said pumped hydro energy storage - which accounts for 97 per cent of energy storage worldwide - can be increased across the country to support high levels of renewable energy, primarily solar photovoltaics and wind.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing $449,000 support for an ANU-led feasibility study, aiming to develop a nation-wide atlas of potential off-river pumped hydro storage sites.

"All the potential sites in South Australia are outside national parks and urban areas, and like all hydro power can go from zero to full power very quickly," Professor Blakers said.

ANU is partnering with ElectraNet and VTara Energy Group to conduct the Atlas of Pumped Hydro Energy Storage Study and develop a cost model for short-term off-river pumped hydro energy storage.

Read the summary and full report on the findings here



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