Idemitsu Australia has signed a $9.45 million funding agreement with the New South Wales Government’s Energy Corporation through its JV with AGL, Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro.
The agreement is to progress the proposed Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) project at Idemitsu Australia’s old Muswellbrook Coal mine site and will be delivered in partnership with AGL to provide reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity to households and enterprises throughout NSW.
In addition, the project will generate 250 megawatts of hydroelectricity with eight hours of storage capacity (for a total of 2000MWh of stored energy) to feed electricity into existing high voltage power lines nearby.
Idemitsu Australia notes that the country is moving towards a model that includes greater renewable energy sources and says that hydroelectric energy is capable of providing large quantities of long-duration storage to ensure electricity stays running.
The company adds that this technology is quickly becoming a crucial component of the state’s future energy system.
The project will including pumping water from a lower reservoir created within a rehabilitated mine void across 2000 metres to the top of nearby Bells Mountain, where it will be stored in a 1.9 gigalitre reservoir that will be created on top of the mountain.
Water will then flow using gravity through pipes to drive a turbine at the base of the mountain and generate electricity.
The company’s plan for the site also includes a proposal to convert the area into a clean energy and industrial precinct, offering the potential for new employment and economic opportunities in NSW.
Further, green hydrogen, solar, battery energy storage systems (BESS) and pumped hydro will all be factored into the project and new precinct, which is a vital part of Idemitsu’s efforts to minimise its carbon emissions by four million tonnes and create four gigawatts of renewable energy throughout its global portfolio by 2030.
Idemitsu Australia Steve Kovac says the company is eager to invest in renewable energy projects that create both domestic and export energy opportunities across Australia.
“The Pumped Hydro Energy Storage project will leverage Idemitsu’s global expertise to deliver renewable energy projects while delivering benefits to the regional communities of the Hunter Valley,” Kovac says.
“We are delighted to be part of Australia’s bright, renewable energy future and have the support of EnergyCo.
“The Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro project will provide a reliable and cost-effective on-demand energy generation source which is critical to delivering renewable energy at lower prices that benefit both the community and businesses.
“Idemitsu is proud of its 115-year history and contributions to the community through Muswellbrook Coal. The Innovative rehabilitation and reuse of mine voids as proposed with the Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro project ensures that sites like Muswellbrook will continue to generate investment and long-term employment.”
Following positive results from the preliminary feasibility study, the project has progressed to a ‘full’ feasibility study which includes detailed design work, geotechnical drilling, engaging contractors and securing environmental approvals.
The New South Wales Government has committed $50 million to the Pumped Hydro Recoverable Grants Program, and the funding will expand the state’s pipeline of pumped hydro projects by up to 3 gigawatts.