ATCO to build 325-MW Central West Pumped Storage Hydro Project in NSW

ATCO, based in Canada, announced it has reached agreement to acquire the rights to develop the 325-MW Central West Pumped Storage Hydro Project near Yetholme in Central West NSW, Australia, from Altura Group.

This acquisition marks the company’s first renewable energy investment on Australia’s east coast and expansion into the National Electricity Market (NEM), according to a press release.

The project will be capable of providing 2,600 MWh of stored energy for up to eight hours when required, ensuring low-cost, long-duration energy storage.

The project is located adjacent to the proposed Central West-Orana Renewable Energy Zone (CWOREZ), the state’s first REZ. It is in close proximity to significant renewable energy resources and a 330-kV grid connection supporting the Sydney load center. 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. The NSW Government is in the early stages of feasibility and planning for the CWOREZ, which is expected to unlock up to 3,000 MW of new generation by the mid-2020s.

“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. “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.”

The project is currently in the project preparation or development phase, with 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 and 30 ongoing jobs during the life of the project.

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. “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.

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