Queensland PHES atlas

Fig. 1. Potential PHES sites in Queensland are located near the Great Dividing Range (Google Earth). Click here for a higher resolution image

Queensland has many potential sites for pumped hydro energy storage (PHES). The number of upper storage sites located in our initial survey is 2213, with an approximate energy storage potential of 9000 GWh – approximately 100 times larger than the amount of storage required to support a 100% renewable electricity grid for Queensland. This large number provides some confidence that there will be a good number of technically feasible PHES sites. Pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) is the most mature and widely deployed electricity storage technology worldwide – 97% of globally installed grid storage is pumped hydro.

These sites were found using algorithms with defined search criteria within a geographic information system (GIS) platform. This platform was used to find detailed information, such as head, reservoir areas, and storage capacity. This list is not yet exhaustive – for example, mining pits have not yet been analysed. We are also in the process of developing a cost model that will determine the least cost option for the tunnelling between two reservoirs, and therefore the location of the lower reservoir. This information will be available in future releases of the Queensland atlas.

A simplified cost model can also be downloaded below.


An atlas of pumped hydro energy storage: South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the Canberra district (pdf, 2.7 MB)

An atlas of pumped hydro energy storage: Figures (pdf, 2 MB)

Queensland spreadsheet (xlsx, 251 KB)

This spreadsheet contains a list of sites, and the basic characteristics of those sites. At this stage, matched lower reservoirs are not included. Head is assumed to be 400 m to allow an estimate of the potential energy storage.

Queensland .kmz file (.kmz, 15.3 MB)

Google Earth can be used to view the potential sites. This software is free, and widely accessible. When used in 3-D mode with 3:1 vertical exaggeration, Google Earth provides good visualisation from any direction. This .kmz file can be loaded in the "Places" field to allow the user to visualise the potential reservoirs. These are shown with a representation of the dam walls. Clicking on a blue reservoir displays a pop-up with information about that reservoir, as does clicking on a dam wall.

Simplified PHES Calculator (xlsx, 12 KB)

Updated:  18 August 2017/ Responsible Officer:  RE100 Leader/ Page Contact:  RE100 Webmaster