Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro named critical infrastructure

Aerial image of the Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro lower reservoir area
Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro lower reservoir area

AGL and Idemitsu Australia‘s Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro project has been given Critical State Significant Infrastructure status from the NSW Government.

The proposed 400MW 8-hour storage pumped hydro plant is expected to provide power and grid support services at critical times, pumping water uphill when there is excess energy from solar and wind and releasing water to generate power in times of high energy demand.

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AGL general manager, energy hubs, Travis Hughes said, “We are pleased the government recognises the critical role this project could play in providing essential long-duration storage for the NSW electricity grid.

“The 400MW Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro plant is expected to have a 100-year asset life and provide eight hours of energy storage. That’s four times the storage duration and five times the asset life of most current battery storage systems.”

Pumped hydro works by circulating water from a lower reservoir into an upper storage reservoir, with the proposed Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro project utilising an innovative model whereby an existing mine void from Idemitsu Australia’s Muswellbrook site which acts as the lower reservoir. Upon demand, water is released from the upper storage site and uses gravity to turn turbines and generate electricity.

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The plant would be located near the town of Muswellbrook in the Hunter Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone and has been awarded $9.45 million funding under the NSW Government’s Pumped Hydro Recoverable Grants Program.

First generation is targeted for 2029 if advanced development studies are successful, and the project receives final investment decision and government approvals.

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