Western Australian PHES atlas

Fig. 1. Potential PHES sites in Western Australia. Click here for a higher resolution image.

Although Western Australia is not as mountainous as other regions of Australia, there are still many potential PHES sites – 200 times more than necessary to transform the current electricity system to a clean, renewable supply. There are possible sites that could provide energy balancing for the resources centres near Port Hedland. Lake Argyle, in the North of WA, could be used to provide energy balancing for solar farms. This electricity could be exported to South East Asia, through a submarine High Voltage Direct Current transmission link. 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.

Although Australia is known to be arid, there is ample water to allow the use of closed-cycle PHES systems to balance the electricity grid. We calculate the annual requirement to be less than 1% of South Australia's annual extraction from the Murray River.

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. 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 atlas.


Western Australia Spreadsheet (xlsx, 1.1 M)

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 250 m to allow an estimate of the potential energy storage.

The following Google Maps link provides the locations of the PHES sites (the reservoirs can be seen using the Google Earth files below):

Google Map link for reservoir locations in Western Australia

Google Earth can be used to view the potential reservoirs. 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.

Western Australia Kimberley Region Reservoir .kmz file (.kmz, 1.3 M)

Western Australia Pilbara Region Reservoir .kmz file (.kmz, 1.3 M)

Western Australia South Region Reservoir .kmz file (.kmz, 4.9 M)

Please refer to our Google Earth FAQs for more information.

Fig. 2. Regions within Western Australia.

Updated:  11 October 2017/ Responsible Officer:  RE100 Leader/ Page Contact:  RE100 Webmaster