GE Renewable Energy and BE Power have signed an agreement to co-develop the 400-MW Big-T (Cressbrook) pumped hydro storage project in Toowoomba, Australia. Under the agreement, GE Renewable Energy’s Hydro Solutions business will work alongside BE Power and their partners to optimize and finalize the plant design and help the project secure financing and reach commercial operations.
The project will provide power equivalent to the demand of roughly 200,000 typical Queensland households. When pumping, it will provide long-duration, high capacity storage to absorb excess wind and solar output. It also will provide valuable system strength and inertia to the grid, safeguarding security and reliability, according to a GE Renewable Energy press release.
“The Big-T Pumped Hydro Storage Power Plant will help facilitate new wind and solar projects and provide firming and grid support services at a critical point in the National Electricity Market. Being the first new pumped hydro project completed in Queensland in over 35 years, the Big-T will help balance the output of wind and solar across the market, ensuring power is available when needed,” said Scott Walkem, managing director of BE Power.
As Queensland pushes toward its target of 50% renewables by 2030, projects such as the Big T will be vital enablers, ensuring that supply continues to meet demand, despite the variable nature of other renewable energy resources. Pumped hydro projects such as the Big-T represent the most cost-effective and long-lasting solution for the high capacity, long duration storage that is needed, GE Renewable Energy said.
“We are really excited to join forces with BE Power at the forefront of the next wave of Australian pumped hydro storage,” said Pascal Radue, chief executive officer of GE Renewable Energy Hydro Solutions.
GE Renewable Energy provides end-to-end solutions for customers demanding reliable and affordable green power. Combining onshore and offshore wind, blades, hydro, storage, utility-scale solar, and grid solutions as well as hybrid renewables and digital services offerings, GE Renewable Energy has installed more than 400 GW of clean renewable energy.