NSW to harness power of pumped hydro

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has entered into a partnership with WaterNSW in an effort to boost the state’s energy security.

Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin is urging the private sector to make new energy investments in the state’s water infrastructure.

“We will be engaging the private sector to look at opportunities in pumped hydro, hydro generation and floating solar which sees photovoltaic panels floated on lakes and ponds,” Mr Harwin said.

“We are seeking interest from private companies to look at both large and small-scale opportunities utilising our WaterNSW infrastructure.”

“Pumped hydro is expected to play an important role in balancing a more diverse energy system, especially as more renewables come online in NSW.

“Over the past six years, the share of renewables in the NSW electricity generation mix has more than doubled.”

More than 13,000MW of large-scale renewable energy projects are either approved or progressing through the New South Wales planning system, representing more than $16 billion in investment.

“NSW is geographically blessed with water assets including around 40 dams across the state, some of which could create opportunities for hydroelectricity and floating solar for the community,” Mr Harwin said.

“Pumped hydro already plays an important part in NSW’s energy system. We want to see dynamic private sector proposals that use our water assets to create energy storage – giving NSW the power when we need it.”

The government is supporting the sector by identifying the NSW regions with the highest pumped hydro potential and providing guidance on the regulatory framework for new projects.

Industry will be briefed on this significant opportunity in early May.