Monday, February 26, 2024

Govt pledges $35m for hydro storage site search

Queensland’s 2022-23 State Budget will allocate $35 million to advance a statewide search for a second potential pumped hydro energy storage site, the state’s Treasurer announced today.

Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Cameron Dick said the viability and community benefits of a further pumped hydro project could now be investigated.

“The delivery of new energy projects is significantly changing the way our electricity system operates,” Mr Dick said.

“Renewable energy now accounts for more than 20% of Queensland’s energy generation, and we’re committed to powering that further.

“Large-scale pumped hydro energy has the capacity to deliver a reliable supply of energy in an economic way. It will also complement our state’s solar and wind generation.”

Mr Dick said the funding would support detailed analytical studies that will consider the long-term benefits of the proposed large-scale storage project.

“Proposed projects like this will create more Queensland jobs, which are vital for our regional communities and economy,” he said.

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni said the only way to drive power prices down was to put more renewables and storage into the energy system.

“This was the clear consensus from the national Energy Ministers Meeting this week to address the ongoing global impacts on the energy market,” Mr de Brenni said. 

“Pumped hydro will play a critical role securing the future of Queensland’s energy system with a reliable supply of dispatchable power.

“As Queensland charges towards its renewable energy target, large-scale storage projects like pumped hydro will enable the continued investment in wind and solar.

“Today’s announcement will ensure more renewable energy is generated for our grid, benefitting every Queenslander across our state,” he said.

The Government has also approved up to $13 million to accelerate key technical studies to enable a final investment decision on the proposed Borumba Pumped Hydro storage project.

The Treasurer said the funding will be drawn from the Queensland Renewable Energy Zone initiative.

“The Borumba Pumped Hydro project has the potential to further strengthen the supply of reliable and affordable energy across Queensland, while also supporting regional jobs and investment,” Mr Dick said.

“This accelerated funding will ensure all elements are in place to support an informed final investment decision.”

Mr de Brenni said Borumba Dam has been identified as one of the best potential sites for long duration pumped hydro in Queensland through the Queensland Hydro Study.

“Powerlink is managing the design and cost analysis, while extensive community and stakeholder consultation will heavily inform all final decisions,” Mr de Brenni said.

“The Borumba Pumped Hydro Project Stakeholder Reference Group met for the first time in March and will be critical to achieving outcomes for the community and Queensland.

“This includes on issues that have emerged as fundamental to building social licence for the project: that there are no impacts to environmental low flows, there is no off-river storage infrastructure on the Mary River, the economic viability of the project, and a lasting community legacy.

“All this will make sure we deliver the best outcome for Queenslanders.”

Further Borumba Pumped Hydro community consultation sessions are planned in the second half of 2022.

A site for the proposed second hydro pumped project is still under investigation, the Government said in a statement.

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