Australian companies Sunshine Hydro and Energy Estate have formed a new joint venture with a goal to develop large scale pumped storage projects in Victoria that will be integrated with green hydrogen production.

In addition to developing pumped hydro projects the JV will assess the suitability of other long duration energy storage technologies for large scale deployment in Victoria such as flow batteries, solar thermal, compressed air and hydrogen storage. 

The JV has been formed following the recent announcements of the accelerated closure of the coal-fired generators in Victoria and the support given by the current Victorian Government for new sources of clean energy generation such as offshore wind. It builds on the existing joint venture between the companies in Queensland where they are jointly developing the first SuperHybrid project which is located in Central Queensland near Miriam Vale – the Djandori gung-i project.

 In the Queensland project Sunshine Hydro and Energy Estate have also partnered with the local traditional owners, Gidarjil Development Corporation and Burnett Mary Regional Group (the region’s peak body for natural resource management). Energy Estate and Sunshine Hydro intend to extend their collaboration into other markets in Australia and globally where they we can develop SuperHybrids and help drive the transformation of the energy sector and the move to 24/7 delivery of clean energy. 

“If the last few months have taught us anything it is that we need a lot more long duration energy storage – not just to keep the lights on but to keep energy prices down. As we rapidly electrify and move away from fossil fuels we need to all understand that building new large scale deep energy storage is vital – for consumers and industry,” said Michael Myer, chair of Sunshine Hydro. “Sunshine Hydro is committed to demonstrating how the renewables industry and traditional owners can work together to build new clean sources of power generation in Australia and beyond, while respecting and protecting the natural environment.”. 

Simon Currie, Co-Founder, Energy Estate, added: “Victoria can benefit from the accelerated development of clean energy ecosystems, which combine onshore and offshore wind farms, solar farms, transmission and batteries with deep storage and green hydrogen production. Our joint venture will focus on how to maximise the repurposing of existing transmission infrastructure in areas like the LaTrobe Valley and how we can achieve enduring outcomes by using systems thinking to integrate projects to deliver multiple energy products and services. 

“At the heart of our joint venture with Sunshine Hydro is a commitment to partner with local communities, workers and traditional owners. We can’t get to a cleaner future without building new projects and infrastructure but we can promise to do this in a way which puts outcomes for communities, workforces and the environment first.”

The SuperHybrid projects in Victoria will use Powertracer traceability technology from Australian company Enosi, to validate the 24/7 carbon free characteristics of both energy and hydrogen products supplied to customers. Energy Estate and Sunshine Hydro have already partnered with Enosi for provenance and certification on other clean energy projects in Australia. 

Enosi's CEO Steve Hoy said "For stored energy to be considered fully renewable under both GHG Protocols and emerging European time-stamped certification standards, we need to provide independent and trusted certification that the stored energy was originally sourced from renewable plant, and aligned in time with renewable production. SuperHybrid plant can solve the credibility gap associated with claiming green credentials from energy usage when renewables are not available – like claiming to use solar energy at night.”