Agreement signed to accelerate 500-MW Dungowan Pumped Hydro Storage in Australia

GE Renewable Energy and Walcha Energy have signed an agreement to jointly develop the 500-MW Dungowan Pumped Hydro Storage Power Plant in the New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

Under the agreement, GE Renewable Energy’s Hydro Solutions business will provide Walcha Energy with technical and commercial support to accelerate the development of the Dungowan power plant, which plays a pivotal role in the energy transition for New South Wales and Australia.

“The Dungowan Pumped Hydro Storage Power Plant will help facilitate new wind and solar projects and provide firming and grid support services at a critical point on the Australian National Electricity Market,” said Simon Currie, Managing Director at Energy Estate, one of the partners in Walcha Energy. “The project represents a unique opportunity to tap into a high-head site, in close proximity to an existing reservoir. It is strategically located between retiring coal capacity to the south and emerging wind and solar capacity to the east, west and north.”

The broader Walcha Energy Project has the potential to provide a capacity of more than 4 GW of stable electricity from renewable sources, up to 15% of NSW’s power requirements. The Dungowan pumped hydro storage power plant will anchor the broader development and ensure that the additional wind and solar resources can be reliably and safely fed into the grid. With intermittent renewables, it is no longer possible to turn on or off generation nor to adjust their power output at the request of power grid operators. Hydropower is a key contributor to frequency response thanks to its flexibility in operation and ability to increase or decrease its active power. In addition, hydropower is the only renewable energy source providing inertia to the grid, according to a press release.

“It has been many years since new hydro capacity was built in Australia, so GE Renewable Energy is excited and proud to be at the forefront of the next generation of Australian hydropower capacities,” said Pascal Radue, chief executive officer of GE Renewable Energy Hydro Solutions.

The New England REZ is one of the largest renewable energy zones in Australia and has been designated as a strategic priority by the NSW government.

GE Renewable Energy combines onshore and offshore wind, blades, hydro, storage, utility-scale solar, and grid solutions, as well as hybrid renewables and digital services offerings.

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