The Tasmanian Pumped-Hydro Energy Storage Opportunities Stage 2 project will conduct pre-feasibility studies on 14 proposed pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) sites under the Hydro Tasmania-led Battery of the Nation Program.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) predicts that Australia will need up to 17,000 MW of large-scale energy storage by 2040 to ensure future reliability and affordability. This highlights a need to firm variable renewable energy generation.
PHES may play a critical role as it can help ensure a secure and reliable electricity through provision of flexible, responsive generation. It can also contribute to providing additional capacity, as well as power system support services.
In 2018, a concept study on PHES, potential in Tasmania identified 14 PHES development opportunities that are likely to be technically and economically viable and cost competitive.
The Tasmanian Pumped-Hydro Energy Storage Opportunities Stage 2 project will conduct further pre-feasibility studies to validate initial concept study assumptions, identify project siting and design options and assess technical, economic, social and environmental risks. This includes risks that may directly or indirectly impact existing operational regimes and obtaining development approvals.
The pre-feasibility studies will also establish a ranking process and criteria for project selection for future full feasibility studies; It will also deliver a business case, plan and prioritised schedule for future full feasibility studies, aligned with key market milestones including the timing of additional interconnection between Tasmania and Victoria.
The development of PHES projects in Tasmania could play an important role in supporting the National Electricity Market (NEM) transition to renewable energy.
Upon completion of the project, Hydro Tasmania aims to:
- identify 2500 MW of viable pumped hydro projects ready for commencement of feasibility studies, in the context of future NEM projections, new interconnection development timing and existing assets and water resources
- identify a development pathway for projects linked to potential additional interconnector development
- build stakeholder support for the project outcomes.
The pre-feasibility studies will describe a potential framework for local community benefit sharing opportunities that could arise from implementation of the projects. Information on successfully implemented benefit sharing models around the world will be reviewed from a Tasmanian perspective to determine what might work.
It is expected there will be new and substantial regional development opportunities in the communities where pumped hydro might be developed. The project will engage with regional communities to assist with identifying potential opportunities and supporting them in planning to take advantage of regional development opportunities.