185 Potential Pumped Hydro Storage sites Identified in South Australia

South Australia never let go of the ways to secure its future energy need more efficiently. And in continuation of that, almost 185 potential sites have been found that are suitable for pumped hydro storage across South Australia.

These sites are all gathered at Pumped Hydro Atlas in South Australia. Whereas the state of SA constitutes the largest proportion in terms of variable renewable electricity (solar PV and wind), this is eventually expected to lift in between the range of 50 to 100 percent in the next few years.


An opportunity to secure Australia’s energy

The ANU team states that Australia’s electricity grid is likely to be secured with the development of pumped storage. The storage of hydropower works by uphill pumping of water and then the water is held and used later on to generate electricity as per the requirements.

The identification of potential sites is, however, considered as the first step in the whole electricity generation project – says Andrew Blakers – Professor and Lead Researcher.

“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. 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, and engineering, hydrological, environmental and other considerations” said Blakers.

Professor Blakers shows confidence in the successful execution of the energy generation technique and hopes that it gets implemented real soon.

“It could happen quite fast — there are many winds and solar farm developers and other companies looking at ways to enter the market to offer stabilization technology for South Australia in particular because South Australia is leading the way with the wind and solar photovoltaic,” he said.


Pumped hydro is practical with renewable energy

As per Blakers, pumped hydro makes for energy storage up to 97% across the whole world and is excellent to facilitate places that have high-levels of renewable energy.

“All the potential sites in South Australia are outside national parks and urban areas” says the researcher.

In order to generate power, river pumping requires at least two reservoirs of storage that are too, linked with a pipe and use a pump and turbine to freely move water between the lower and upper reservoir.

As per another research team member – Matthew Stocks,

“About 400 hectares of reservoir is required to support a 100 per cent renewable energy grid for South Australia, which is four parts per million of the state’s land mass”

“[The] annual water requirement would be less than 1 per cent of SA’s annual extraction from the Murray”, he further continued.

The ANU research is also helped by the ARENA – Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Ivor Frischknecht – Chief Executive ARENA says, “Pumped hydro is the most mature form of energy storage and studies like these are helping to determine whether it could play an even greater role in increasing grid stability”

In another news, Pacific Hydro saved 500 million US$ last month for renewable energy projects in terms of under development and operation. This also includes hydro in Chile and Australia.