Delta Electricity has received development approval from the South Australian government for the 230-MW Goat Hill pumped hydro project. The 230MW/1840MWh project, located 12 km west of Port Augusta will involve an investment of approximately $410 million and create about 200 jobs during construction according to project developer Altura.
Work is already underway for detailed plant design and construction contracting so the Goat Hill project may be the first ‘shovel ready’ pumped hydro project in South Australia. The project is moving towards reaching an investment during 2018. The developer estimates the construction period will be two years and first generation is possible by late 2020.
The project is located near Lincoln Gap near Port Augusta in the Spencer Gulf. Water supply for this project will be from the SA Water Morgan Whyalla Pipeline. Evaporation covers will minimise losses.
Gerald is a senior lawyer specialising in energy and infrastructure projects (in particular renewable energy) having worked in Australia, the UK and Germany. He has advised contractors, project sponsors, banks and procuring authorities on projects in Australia and overseas.
Gerald is an industry leader in the renewable energy sector having advised on projects in more than 20 countries both from within the industry and as a practising lawyer. He is a director of Pegasus Legal, an energy and infrastructure boutique legal practice. Most recently, Gerald has successfully closed market-leading transactions in Australia, the Philippines and Japan.
He also has substantial expertise in the transport industry, having worked on numerous rail and airport projects in the UK, Europe, India and Australia.
Chris is a generalist civil engineer and software engineer with a recent focus on electro-mobility and renewable energy integration.
Past experience includes infrastructure projects such as construction planning of coal loader offshore works, detailed design of highway grade separated interchanges, design and systems analysis for highway design software used in 42 countries, design and construction of municipal facilities.
Chris is a joint venture partner in Eco Boats Australia Pty Ltd a leading marine electro-mobility company with offices in Sydney and Brisbane. Chris is the technical lead for design and implementation of electrical propulsion systems for yachts, motor boats, work boats and small vessels. He has a special interest in renewable energy powered vessels.
Chris’s company Creative Engineering Australia Pty Ltd has developed software for geometric design of Highways and other major civil engineering projects. The software has been translated to French, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, and Hungarian and has been used in 42 countries world wide for a variety of infrastructure projects. Creative Engineering also provides consulting services for renewable energy integration and infrastructure planning.
Other activities: Chris is a board member of the Association of Sustainable Communities, Co-Convener of Pine Rivers Greens.
Sorin is a specialist in pumped hydro power station operation and maintenance, with expertise in catchment hydro and thermal power generation.
Sorin was manager of Wivenhoe Power Station for 11 years — the largest hydro machine in the Australia and Queensland’s only pumped hydro plant. As well as CS Energy, the owner of Wivenhoe Power Station, Sorin has also worked for Hydro Tasmania as Power Schemes engineering manager, for Fluor Global in the role of Operations Engineer and for Macquarie Generation at Bayswater Power Station.
Sorin is adviser to Sunshine Hydro, and lives north of Brisbane with his wife Bianca.
Donovan is a climate change adaptation specialist with a diverse portfolio of experience, having completed more than 150 climate change risk and adaptation projects. He is focused on influencing change adaptation governance through disruptive technology, big data and the internet of things. Donovan recently founded the Informed.City platform for climate change adaptation governance assessments. In the past 12 months the platform has been used to understand the adaptation governance of 230 organisations across numerous jurisdictions.
Over the past decade Donovan has helped numerous organizations identify risks and opportunities associated with climate change. His sector experience in this space includes insurance, property development, infrastructure (including roads, rail, ports, tunnels), information communication technology, United Nations, national governments, state governments, local governments, NGOs
Snowy Hydro’s independent Board of Directors has approved the Snowy 2.0 feasibility study, and for further work to be undertaken for the project to progress to a final investment decision in 2018.
According to the feasibility study released 20th December 2017 the technical and financial feasibility is confirmed. The board has withheld the chapters of the report which show the financial modelling and pricing of the project on the grounds of being commercially sensitive.
Snowy Hydro’s CEO, Paul Broad, said that progressing Snowy 2.0 was a strategic business decision and the projected return on investment would enable the company to fund the project.
In an ASX announcement Genex Power reported on its Technical Feasibility Optimisation which upgrades the storage from 6 to 8 hours operation at 250 MW. This is an additional 33% over the earlier indications that it would provide 6 hours operation at 250 MW.
Other conclusions from the optimisation are that variable speed pump-turbines will provide a better outcome than the originally proposed fixed speed pump-turbines, and that the upper reservoir can be provided by using the existing Wises pit rather than the proposed turkey’s nest dam. Utilising the existing pit will reduce capital cost.
Modelling by Mott MacDonald showed that by using variable speed pump-turbines the start up time can be reduced to less than 30 seconds.
The TFS optimisation concluded that the project cost, including contingency, is about $330million. The project also requires the construction of a 275 kV transmission line to connect to the existing infrastructure at Mt Fox.
Full details of the announcement is available at Genex
Snowy Hydro boss Paul Broad has been out and about talking up the merits of pumped hydro over chemical battery storage such as the much touted Tesla installation in South Australia. According to AFR, Snowy Hydro has been crunching the numbers and reveals that the cost of Snowy 2.0 and transmission lines would add $127 per year to the average household electricity bill by 2027. Snowy Hydro says that providing the same storage using batteries would add a staggering $4000.00 per year to the average bill.
Its hard to believe that such numbers could be true.
The shear magnitude of the snowy 2.0 project gives some credibility to the notion that pumped hydro could be cheaper for large storage. A characteristic of pumped hydro is that the magnitude of energy stored is related to the water volume, and for a given power station size, the water volume can often be increased at low marginal cost, and so per megawatt-hour the cost can fall dramatically. In the case of the Cultana project costed at about 1/3 the cost of equivalent batteries for the same energy storage, the storage component could be increased by increasing the size of the upper turkeys nest dam. The dam cost portion of the project is quite low at less than 10% of project cost. This chart taken from the Cultana Knowledge Sharing Report shows that increasing hours of storage has a low impact on overall project cost and shows significant reduction in cost per unit of storage.
In the case of the Snowy Hydro project, because the dams to be used, Talbingo and Tantangara, are both existing the storage element of the project is already provided, and the costs will vary with the nameplate capacity of the project. And because the dams can store an enormous amount of energy, the per unit costs is expected to be quite low.
Snowy Hydro is not releasing much detail about the project, but based on rudimentary information about the elevation difference between the two dams and a generating efficiency of around 85% the energy storage potential can be estimated. Tantangara stores 254 gigalitres which is 87 times larger than the Cultana project. Talbingo stores 920 megalitres of water and is about 600m below Tantanagara — this 600m of head is more than double that available at Cultana. Assuming that only half the capacity of the smaller of the two dams is available for the pumped hydro operation, that is about 43 times more volume and double the head for about 80 times the energy available at Cultana. Cultana stores about 1.7 gigawatt-hours of energy, and that would suggest Snowy 2.0 can store about 136 gigawatt hours of energy.
Compare this to the entire world’s production of lithium batteries of about 35 gigawatt-hours per annum — this would mean that to provide the same storage capacity in lithium batteries would require the next 4 years world production of lithium batteries to be dedicated solely to this project (or assuming Tesla’s new battery gigifactory does come on line fully by next year, it may mean about three year’s production.) Its clearly not credible that batteries could offer a high penetration of grid scale storage any time soon and gives credence to the idea that large scale storage is better provided by pumped hydro than batteries.
The idea that batteries could ever add $4000 to the average electricity bill though is quite bizarre. For small scale storage batteries have a clear advantage and can be deployed very quickly. When used behind the meter they are already economical and any tendency for power prices to rise will encourage the use of storage in this manner, and so the possibility of prices rising to the stratospheric levels suggested by Broad is implausible.
You can read the full Snowy Hydro story in AFR here.
A consortium of EnergyAustralia, Arup and The University of Melbourne’s Energy Institute (MEI), with funding assistance from ARENA, has undertaken a feasibility study for a seawater pumped hydro project in South Australia’s Spencer Gulf. The study found that the the project is technically feasible with a capital cost of just over $2.1 million per MW of capacity and $270 per kWh of storage. This is towards the high side for pumped hydro projects due to relatively long penstocks and the significant structures to exchange water with Spencer Gulf.
Full details of the study can be found here in the form a knowledge sharing report.
Existing pumped hydro in China as at end of 2016 amounts to 26 Gigawatts compared to entire Australian installed coal capacity of 22 Gigawatts.
According to Qian Ganglian of China Renewable Energy Institute, at the end of 2016, the Hebei Fengning Pumped Storage Power Station (3,600MW) is the largest pumped storage power station under construction. The Guangdong Guangzhou Pumped Storage Power Station (2,400MW) and Guangdong Huizhou 1 Pumped Storage Power Station (2,400MW) respectively boast the largest installed capacity currently in operation. The station with the largest pump-turbine under construction is Guangdong Yangjiang Pumped Storage Power Station (400MW). The Zhejiang Xianju Pumped Storage Power Station (375MW) boasts the largest pump-turbine currently in operation. Zhejiang Changlongshan Pumped Storage Power Station has the highest head under construction with rated head of 710m, while the operational Shanxi Xilongchi Pumped Storage Power Station has a rated head of 624m).
While we vacillate over energy storage in Australia, China is surging ahead with construction of pumped hydro projects. Just counting pumped hydro projects under construction in 2016 their capacity exceeds the entire installed capacity of fossil fuel power stations in Australia. As at end of 2016 there are 26 pumped hydro installations under construction and amounting to a capacity of 32 GW. In Australia fossil fuel generators account for 32 GW made up of Coal 22 GW, OCGT 6 GW, CCGT 2 GW, and other Gas 2GW
China has embraced the need of storage in the network and clearly recognises the value of pumped hydro in a network with increasing penetration of renewable generation. The value proposition for pumped hydro is partly related to the long transmission lines from the wind and solar energy rich areas of the north west to the high demand areas of central and east china. In this respect the long transmission lines are reflective of Australia’s long thin network. Pumped hydro acts to flatten the peaky output of both wind and solar and make better use of, or postpone or eliminate transmission augmentation. In this way it can be considered a transmission asset rather than a generation asset and recognition of the value of this role will need some market adjustment in Australia.
Being a largely state owned electricity grid makes it easier to make decisions beneficial to the grid at large. Pumped hydro can reduce the overall cost of generation/transmission and in the past when our electricity generation and distribution were government owned, pumped hydro projects such as Tumut 3, Wivenhoe and Sholhaven were built. Yet in a market such as the NEM its not clear how it can reward pumped pumped hydro (or any storage) adequately as a commercial enterprise.
We see some progress now with the announcement of the Snowy Hydro 2 pumped hydro project and yet the feasibility study is being done by political decree and it will be interesting to see how the numbers stack up. AEMO proposed changes to the 5 minute rule for bidding and settlement may also help the numbers stack up.