Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have identified about 22,000 potential sites across Australia for pumped hydro energy storage, which can be used to support a secure and cheap national electricity grid with 100 per cent renewable energy.
The zero-emissions grid would mainly rely on wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, with support from pumped hydro storage, and would eliminate Australia’s need for coal and gas-fired power.
Lead researcher Professor Andrew Blakers said the short-term off-river pumped hydro energy storage (STORES) sites combined had a potential storage capacity of 67,000 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) – much more than the capacity required for a zero-emissions grid.
Site searching and development of a PHES cost model are being explored as part of an ARENA funded project.
The complete atlas is available on this site, as is a press release summarising the work.
Our work has been covered by AM – ABC Radio, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The West Australian, and the Herald Sun.
The figure above shows potential PHES sites across Australia.