Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said he is pleased the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is finalising a grant for a feasibility study by EnergyAustralia to assess the viability of a pumped hydro energy storage project in the Upper Spencer Gulf.
“EnergyAustralia already has electricity assets in Grey operating windfarms at Cathedral Rocks and Hallett. This type of investment in storage providing a ‘retrofit’ for some of the existing wind generation is exactly what I have been calling for,” Mr Ramsey said.
“The $450,000 from ARENA will assist EnergyAustralia in assessing such things as elevation, proximity of water, site suitability and land access with all interested parties.
“This project will in no way jeopardise the solar thermal proposals for Port Augusta and I continue to work toward an announcement in that area.
“The last few months have shown us just how important the Northern Power Station’s base load capacity was to the SA network. Energy storage is critically important to respond to our current challenge. The State Government should be insisting all new renewable projects are built to include storage and separately encouraging others to invest in a range of emerging cost-effective technologies that can deliver stability and security to the electricity grid.
“The proposed storage facility, likely be situated on Defence Land at Cultana, would have the capacity to buy electricity cheaply and despatch it when needed, providing certainty for South Australian users.
Pumped hydro energy storage is a mature and cost-effective storage technology that can help address our needs.
The Government has already provided significant support for large-scale energy storage projects and research with $220 million of funding for a suite of energy storage projects across the country.
ARENA is supporting a study by ANU to develop a map of potential sites for off-river pumped hydro projects.
At the Government’s request, ARENA and the CEFC have agreed to work together on a priority new funding round for large-scale storage and other flexible capacity projects including pumped hydro.
Energy Australia will continue to consult with local stakeholders, including the Department of Defence.
Media Contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith 08 8633 1744
February 21 2017