15 Jul 2020

Walcha Energy Signs Agreement with GE to Accelerate 500 MW Pumped Hydro Storage Project

15 Jul 2020  by PV-Magazine   

Dungowan pumped hydro storage power plant will support 4GW of new renewable energy generation developed by Walcha Energy being fed into the grid.GE Renewable Energy Hydro Solutions to provide technical and commercial support for the development of Dungowan pumped hydro storage power plant.

Walcha Energy is excited to announce that it has signed an agreement with GE to jointly develop the 500MW Dungowan pumped hydro storage project in the New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

Under the agreement, GE Renewable Energy’s Hydro Solutions business will provide Walcha Energy with technical and commercial support to accelerate the development of the Dungowan pumped hydro storage power plant which will play a pivotal role in the energy transition for New South Wales and Australia.

“Dungowan PHES will help facilitate new wind and solar projects and provide firming and grid support services at a critical point on the Australian National Electricity Market. The project represents a unique opportunity to tap into a high-head site, in close proximity to an existing reservoir. It is strategically located between retiring coal capacity to the south and emerging wind and solar capacity to the east, west and north,” said Simon Currie, Managing Director at Energy Estate, one of partners in Walcha Energy.

Overall, the Walcha Energy Project has the potential to produce more than 4GW of stable electricity from renewable sources. The Dungowan pumped hydro storage power plant is intended to anchor the broader development and ensure that the newwind and solar generation can be reliably and safely fed into the grid.

Hydropower plays a decisive role in the energy transition. Already today, 95% of all stored energy in the world is provided by hydro storage. Its storage capacity is up to 100 times higher than that of any available battery solution. Above all, however, hydropower guarantees the necessary balance and stability of the grid. With intermittent renewables, it is no longer possible to turn on or off generation nor to adjust their power output at the request of power grid operators. Hydropower is a key contributor to frequency response thanks to its flexibility in operation and ability to increase or decrease its active power. In addition, Hydropower is currently the only renewable energy source capable of providing inertia to the grid.

The New England REZ is one of the largest renewable energy zones in Australia and has been designated as a strategic priority by the NSW Government. The Walcha Energy project has the potential to provide up to 15% of NSW’s power requirements. The Dungowan pumped hydro storage power plant would provide about 2%, or roughly 125,000 households with electricity. The NSW Government has supported the development of the project under its Emerging Energy Program through funding for pre-investment studies.

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