Skip to Content
Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    The Australian National University


    Australian Capital Territory

    ARENA Program

    Advancing Renewables Program

  • Start date

    14 January 2020

    End date

    30 June 2023

  • Project Partners


The Australian National University (ANU) will produce a comprehensive atlas of potential pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) development sites in Australia to increase variable wind and solar generation.

Key results

The project provided comprehensive details of pumped hydro storage opportunities in Australia. The project found 5,500 good sites, ranked according to cost into classes A, B, C, D and E, where a class A site costs about half as much as a Class E site per unit of storage. Each site has 16 metrics including location, cost class, head and reservoir area. Four thousand are Greenfield sites requiring two new reservoirs, and 1,500 of the sites are Bluefield sites where one of the reservoirs already exists. All the sites are publicly available on the Greenfield and Bluefield atlases, which are accessible via These maps can be panned and zoomed to a resolution of 30 metres.


The Short Term Off-River Energy Storage Stage 2 (STORES 2) project acknowledges that as more intermittent renewables come online, there is a growing need for energy storage to keep the electricity grid stable. This project aims to reduce barriers to developing PHES projects in Australia and thereby support increasing levels of variable wind and solar energy.


Building on the previous Atlas of Pumped Hydro Energy Storage project, the ANU will complete and publish a comprehensive atlas of every favourable, potential upper and lower PHES reservoir in Australia. It will pair and characterise each reservoir (upper and lower) in detail including latitude, longitude, elevation, head, energy storage, water area, water volume, average water depth, shape of the reservoir, shape of the dam wall, amount of rock needed for the dam wall, dam length and water-rock ratio. The ANU will provide shape files, KML files, map files and other information, and provide extensive data searching capability. The ANU will then classify the most favourable PHES sites into capital cost classes, providing sufficient confidence to proceed to pre-feasibility.


The Short Term Off-River Energy Storage Stage 2 project helps potential developers find PHES sites and reduces the time and cost of pre-feasibility evaluation. It also provides government agencies and the Australian Energy Market Operator with an accurate and reliable view of PHES sites in Australia.

An increase in energy storage in Australia will ultimately allow a greater penetration of renewable electricity into our electricity networks.

Last updated 26 April 2023


How could pumped hydro energy storage power our future?

Reservoirs of water are poised to play a key role storing renewable energy to bolster the grid.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Back to top