ATCO unveils 325MW pumped hydro storage project in NSW

ATCO

ATCO has announced it has reached an agreement to acquire the rights to develop the 325MW Central West Pumped Storage Hydro Project near Yetholme in Central West NSW. The planned acquisition–from Altura Group–marks the company’s first renewable energy investment on Australia’s east coast and expansion into the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The 325MW pumped storage hydro project will be capable of providing 2600MWh of stored energy for a period of up to eight hours when required, ensuring low-cost, long-duration energy storage.

The project is located near Yetholme, 30 kilometres from Bathurst, adjacent to the proposed Central West-Orana Renewable Energy Zone (CWOREZ). It is in close proximity to significant renewable energy resources and a 330kV grid connection supporting the Sydney load centre. The project has the potential to become an important element of the NSW Government’s CWOREZ through large-scale energy storage and availability of firming contracts for Australia’s burgeoning renewable energy sector. 

“ATCO has moved to secure its first renewable energy investment in NSW based on the policy certainty created by the NSW Government’s Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap,” said Ben Bolot, Executive General Manager, Business Development, ATCO Australia.

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“The Central West Pumped Storage Hydro Project will be an integral piece of the puzzle in supporting the development of new renewable generation capacity in NSW and transitioning our energy system.

“Grid stability and security is one of the most pressing issues confronting the energy sector. Pumped storage hydro projects provide the long duration energy solution required to complement the short duration battery projects that have been recently announced. This project is a critical part of securing our energy future and making NSW an attractive location for industry with stable, low-cost energy supply as we transition away from carbon based fuels.”

ATCO’s Managing Director in Australia, Patrick Creaghan, said with 2021 marking ATCO’s 60th year in Australia, it was a fantastic time to reaffirm the company’s commitment to the community, through expanding its presence into renewable energy here. Australia is leading the world in its transition to new, clean sources of energy and energy security and ATCO’s global reach, technical expertise and operational strength will further support this momentum.

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“ATCO has been investing in alternative and renewable energy solutions for 30 years, and continues to respond to disruption in the energy sector through investing in our people, our communities and in innovative technologies and business models to deliver a low carbon future.” he said. 

The NSW Government is in the early stages of feasibility and planning for the state’s first pilot Renewable Energy Zone (REZ)–in the Central West region. This REZ is expected to unlock up to 3000 megawatts of new generation by the mid-2020s. The project can provide dispatchable power to ensure the grid is reliable and secure to support the growth of variable renewable energy.

The project is currently in the project preparation or development phase, with the project construction expected to commence in early 2023 and operations late 2025. The Central West Pumped Storage Hydro Project is expected to create 200 jobs during the three year construction phase of the project and 30 ongoing jobs during the life of the project.