Research from The Australian National University has identified 185 potential sites for pumped storage hydro installations in South Australia.
South Australia is the state with the largest proportion of variable renewable electricity (wind and solar PV). This is expected to increase into the 50% to 100% range in the coming years.
The sites are published in the South Australian Pumped Hydro Atlas.
In light of Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel’s final report on the review of the electricity market’s security, Professor Andrew Blakers said the new findings provided a valuable contribution to the national discussion on energy security.
“Our work shows that there are many sites in South Australia that may be suitable for establishing pumped hydro storage, to help build a sustainable, secure and affordable electricity grid,” said Professor Blakers, the study’s lead researcher from the ANU Research School of Engineering.
“This assessment is based on very appealing physical characteristics, but the 185 potential upper reservoir sites identified would require detailed due diligence involving land ownership, engineering, hydrological, environmental and other considerations.”
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing $449,000 support for an ANU-led feasibility study, aiming to develop a nation-wide atlas of potential off-river pumped hydro storage sites.