Pumped Hydro Storage in Australia

Pumped Hydro Storage in Australia

12 Oct 2017, 1:10 PM - 2:30 PM

Room 219, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
English (Australia)


Chairperson: Prof Carol Boyle, Professor of Infrastructure Engineering Design, Head of Discipline, Civil and Water Engineering School of Engineering, Faculty of Science Engineering & Built Environment, Deakin University


Is pumped storage hydro the key to increasing renewables in Australia?

Richard Herweynen, Principal Consultant, Civil Engineering, Entura

Donald Vaughan, Principal Consultant, Primary Electrical Engineering, Entura  

Pumped storage hydropower is resurging in popularity across the globe as governments and utilities seek to ensure grid stability in markets with increasing penetration of renewables. With energy reliability a hot topic in Australia, eyes are now turning to pumped storage hydropower.

Entura led the bankable feasibility study into the 250 MW Kidston pumped storage hydropower project in Queensland, which was deemed to be technically and commercially feasible. Richard Herweynen, Principal Consultant Civil Engineering, and Donald Vaughan, Principal Consultant Primary Electrical Engineering, will provide an overview and discuss:

•What is the importance of pump storage for peaking power, balancing the fluctuations in renewables, and providing stability to the grid?

•What are the barriers to developing more Australian pumped storage hydropower projects? What has been holding it back? 

•The Kidston pumped storage hydro project:  addressing key risks and optimising design  


•Batteries vs pumped storage: a place for both?


A proposed seawater pumped hydro energy storage project for South Australia

Kevin Lanigan, Leader Narrabri, EnergyAustralia

As the transition to more renewable sources of electricity generation continues across Australia, the need for large-scale energy storage in stabilising grid supply is becoming increasingly clear.  This is most obvious (and most urgent) in South Australia, where the combined total of intermittent wind and solar electricity generation is at global highs.

Pumped hydroelectricity energy storage (PHES) is a long-proven and extensively utilised means of providing energy security and stability in electricity markets worldwide, with substantial supply longevity and cost advantages over batteries.  While only a few PHES schemes have been built in Australia to date, several new projects are now being contemplated, almost all using freshwater.  However, in a relatively dry region such as South Australia, a consortium comprising EnergyAustralia, Arup and the Melbourne Energy Institute, with funding support from ARENA, has investigated the feasibility of building a seawater PHES facility, which has only been done once before in the world.

This presentation will give an overview of the proposed project.


Pumped Hydro  - Re-Thinking the Battery Storage system

Andrew Thaler, Thinkerer, Singleton Solar

PPump-Hydro is certainly viable, in particular with small-hydro as a way to take the next step in the 'solar revolution'.

What Malcolm Turnbull is talking about with Snowy 2.0 is not renewable-energy 'generation'. Rather it is Electricity 'storage' of which that electricity could involve renewables at appropriate times. And its not new.

Other commentators seem to focus on the large-scale systems, which will naturally be small in numbers, limited in opportunity, and expensive to build and so require government (public) money to help build them.

In this session I will be looking at the potential of installing LOTS of smaller systems dotted around the electrical grid on the eastern seaboard and great dividing range, where there are sufficient height differentials.

The system would use 200 meters of elevation difference and with a 1 megalitre storage up top and this could produce around 750kW (instantaneous) of electricity for around 1:20hrs. This same site would have room for maybe 5 MW of solar PV and also the room to increase the nett-storage capacity over time. It could also incorporate some on-site wind generation too.

The beauty of these smaller versions is that you can increase the 'run-time' of the generator by incrementally increasing the size of the storages (tanks) from cash-flow and operating profits over time.

I will cover the process and propose solutions to bring down costs and make it more viable such as what we have seen in the Solar PV industry.


  • Carol Boyle


    Professor of Infrastructure Engineering Design, Head of Discipline, Civil and Water Engineering School of Engineering, Faculty of Science Engineering & Built En

    Deakin University

  • Andrew Thaler



    Singleton Solar

    Electrical-Fitter Tradesman. Thinkerer. Challenger of the status-Quo. 

  • Richard Herweynen


    Principal Consultant, Civil Engineering


    Richard has 27 years of experience in dam and hydropower engineering, and has worked throughout the Asia-Pacific region on both dam and hydropower...

  • Donald Vaughan


    Principal Consultant, Primary Electrical Engineering


    Donald has over 20 years of experience providing advice on regulatory and technical requirements for generators, substations and transmission...

  • Kevin Lanigan


    Leader Narrabri


    Kevin Lanigan has over 27 years in the energy industry, principally in ‘upstream’ oil and gas (exploration and development) across Australia and...

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