EnergyAustralia provides update on proposed seawater pumped storage project

EnergyAustralia recently briefed the federal government on the potential for a 100-MW pumped storage project in South Australia that uses seawater.

Partners in developing this project are Energy Australia, the Melbourne Energy Institute and Arup Group.

The proposed project would be located on the northern end of the Spencer Gulf. The site is within 2 km of the coast and has an elevation of 300 meters. “It’s the ideal site for pumped hydro energy storage with seawater in South Australia,” says Dr. Roger Dargaville, deputy director of the Melbourne Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne.

In 2013, the Melbourne Energy Institute and the Arup Group began assessing how pumped hydro technology could be adapted to Australia’s dry conditions using seawater. Arup says this would be only the second example of a seawater pumped storage plant anywhere in the world.

EnergyAustralia and its partners plan to have a feasibility study completed by mid-2017. If the project is viable, detailed engineering design work, environmental impact statements, consultation with stakeholders and applications for government approval will follow.

Construction would take about two years, and the project could be providing electricity to the grid by the summer of 2020/2021, EnergyAustralia says.

Melbourne Energy Institute reported Feb. 21 that the partners had received a grant from ARENA for assessment of this project but did not disclose the value of the award. The Guardian reported the grant had a value of $450,000.

EnergyAustralia owns coal, gas and wind powered generating facilities. Arup Group is an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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