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More potential pumped hydro storage sites identified

Over 18,000 sites across New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have been identified as possible locations for pumped hydro energy storage.

The sites have been identified as part of work being carried out by the Australian National University which is supported by a $449,000 grant from the Turnbull Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

The aim of the study is to develop a nationwide map of potential sites for establishing off-river pumped hydro storage and builds on the 5,195 potential sites identified in South Australia, Queensland, the Canberra district and in and around Alice Springs earlier this year.

“Investing in renewable storage technologies, such as pumped hydro and batteries, will play a key role into securing an affordable and reliable energy network in Australia,” said the Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg.

“The Turnbull Government is already supporting a major expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme and looking at further hydro-electricity and pumped storage opportunities in Tasmania, the Upper Spencer Gulf in South Australia and Kidston in Queensland.”

Pumped hydro energy storage involves pumping water uphill to a storage reservoir and releasing it through a turbine to provide additional energy into the electricity grid when it is needed. It accounts for 97 per cent of energy storage worldwide. The potential sites have only been assessed on a geographic basis at this stage.

“As the Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel noted in his review of the National Electricity Market, pumped hydro storage systems are the most mature electrical energy storage systems available,” said Minister Frydenberg.

As part of the Turnbull Government’s commitment to the affordability and reliability of the National Electricity Market, ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation are working together on a new priority funding round for large-scale storage and other flexible capacity projects including pumped hydro.

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