South Australia awards A$8.7 million in grants for new pumped storage hydro

The Government of South Australia has awarded A$8.7 million (US$6.8 million) in grants to four companies planning to build pumped storage hydro projects.

The four projects, in the Upper Spencer Gulf, would add about 750 MW of generating capacity. The companies will invest a combined total of about A$1.5 billion (US$1.2 billion) in these projects, creating about 550 jobs during construction.

The four winners are:

Altura Group: A$4.7 million grant toward $9.4 million for development phase activities for the 230-MW Goat Hill Project, 12 km west of Port Augusta. The project would require an investment of about $410 million and would create about 200 jobs during construction. Altura is developing the project with Delta Electricity.

Rise Renewables: A$3 million grant toward $6.3 million in accelerated engineering, design and development activities for the project at the existing Baroota Reservoir. The $406 million project would have a capacity of 200 to 230 MW and would create about 100 jobs during construction.

EnergyAustralia: A$500,000 grant toward $8 million in engineering design activities for a 225-MW project at Cultana. This would require an investment of $477 million and create 200 jobs during construction.

GFG Alliance: A$500,000 grant toward $1.7 million in pre-feasibility work on a 90-MW project at Iron Duchess mine site. The $170 million facility would create 100 jobs during construction.

The grants come from the Renewable Technology Fund. The Battery Storage and Renewable Technology Fund website says, “The State Government will establish a $150 million fund to support projects that make renewable energy available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to power the state when it is needed.” The fund will provide $75 million in grants and $75 million in loans to eligible projects. Projects under consideration in South Australia include solar thermal, biomass, hydrogen energy and pumped hydro.

In choosing these projects, Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said, “The key to lowering power prices in South Australia is boosting competition, and these projects have the potential to dispatch cheap renewable energy when demand is high. Storage of renewable energy is the future and South Australia has entrenched itself as a hub for the development of large-scale storage projects. We want to see as many of these projects as possible developed.”

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