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Unlocking the true potential of hydro

|2 November 2016|


A blueprint is being developed in Australia to gauge the true potential pumped hydro systems have to provide cost-effective energy storage.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing nearly half a million dollars to help fund The Australian National University (ANU) in mapping potential short-term off-river pumped hydro energy storage (STORES) sites.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said: “This study will help us see just how cheap, efficient and effective pumped hydro systems can be in providing large-scale, reliable, clean energy storage that can feed into the grid on demand, in a range of suitable locations across Australia.

“The approach uses surplus energy to pump water uphill to a storage reservoir. This water can then be released downhill to generate electricity on demand.

“Whilst there has been a recent focus on energy storage technologies such as batteries and solar thermal, the vast majority of existing large-scale energy storage comes from large on-river hydroelectric dams, such as those in Tasmania and the Snowy Mountains.

“There is limited potential for further large-scale hydroelectric systems to be installed in Australia; however there are potentially hundreds of smaller, environmentally suitable, off-river STORES scale sites.”

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Iain Robertson
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