“We call it a giant water battery. You pump water from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir when energy is in surplus and then you release that water and generate the power at times of peak demand and peak price. “The energy gets metered when it goes into the grid. Then when we pump, the energy comes out of the grid and we pay for energy. Everything gets managed through the grid.“The physical electrons themselves will go to the nearest point of consumption. For example, if the hydro is in pumping mode and consuming energy during a sunny day, the electrons will be consumed from the adjacent solar farm.” While pumped hydro facilities are already in operation around Australia – including the Snowy Hydro Tumut 3 power station, Shoalhaven Hydro in Kangaroo Valley and Wivenhoe Power Station near Brisbane – the Kidston Pumped Hydro Project is unprecedented in its re-use of retired infrastructure.
“It’s always smart if you can utilise infrastructure that was built for another purpose. In our case, our two reservoirs are in place,” Kidston said. “These pits are truly enormous. When we’re releasing water from the upper reservoir through the turbines into the lower reservoir, the amount of water flowing through the turbines will be equivalent to 250 Olympic swimming pools per hour.”Pumped storage hydro – using stored water as potential energy – offers a way to manage energy demand and makes solar and wind energy supply more stable and therefore more viable. “There are a lot of other pumped storage projects that are in the planning stage,” Kidston said. “There’s a reliance on pumped storage projects now due to their ability to deal with intermittency, managing the energy system and dealing with the abundance. “What’s required from a [renewables] system strength perspective is pumped hydro being developed around the country in order to manage that intermittency.” The project has the potential to generate for up to 8 hours, producing 2000 MWh of rapid response, flexible power for delivery into the National Electricity Market. Similar to the Snowy Hydro’s Tumut 3 hydro power station, the facility will not discharge, but continue to recycle water. “We are all very excited,” Kidston said. “It will take a little while, but the main thing is to get the construction underway and that will happen this year.” Originally published by Water Source.
- Hear from Professor Elaine Baker (driving force behind the Global Tailings Portal) to find out about the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative in this webinar
- Find out about the global changes on tailings storage facility legislation in our FREE guide
- Speak to our team for a free demo of our Tailings Monitoring solution
- See how our solutions help manage industry stakeholder engagement and operator and regulator compliance requirements here