World’s largest pumped hydro scheme announced for Queensland

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QLD Government announces largest pumped hydro scheme worldwide as part of QLD’s $62 billion Energy and Job Plan

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a bold clean energy future for Queensland, including the biggest pumped hydro scheme in the world. A new dam in the Pioneer Valley near Mackay would supply half of Queensland’s energy needs with clean, reliable, affordable renewable energy.

The new damn would be part of a $62 billion Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan that includes:

  • 70% of Queensland’s energy supply from renewables by 2032
  • 80% by 2035
  • Two new pumped hydros at Pioneer/Burdekin and Borumba Dam by 2035
  • A new Queensland SuperGrid connecting solar, wind, battery and hydrogen generators across the State
  • Unlocking 22GW of new renewable capacity – giving us eight times our current level
  • Publicly owned coal-fired power stations to convert to clean energy hubs to transition to, for example, hydrogen power, with jobs guarantees for workers
  • Queensland’s publicly-owned coal-fired power stations to stop reliance on burning coal by 2035
  • 100,000 new jobs by 2040, most in regional Queensland
  • 11.5GW of rooftop solar and 6GW of embedded batteries
  • 95% of investment in regional Queensland
  • Building Queensland’s first hydrogen-ready gas turbine
  • Projects subject to environmental approvals

Similar to the Borumba Dam Pumped Hydro project, the Government will conduct detailed analytical studies to decide whether to proceed further with a pumped hydro development at this location.

This analysis will include:

  • detailed hydrological modelling
  • assessment of environmental and social impacts
  • engineering design
  • geological investigations
  • financial modelling.

The western Pioneer Valley was selected after a statewide assessment of potential pumped hydro locations through the Queensland Hydro Study. The site has significant potential for a 5-gigawatt, large-scale, long-duration pumped hydro facility. The mountainous topography can provide a large vertical separation between the reservoirs, which is needed for pumped hydro.

The area is also located close to high-quality wind and solar generation sources in the Northern and Central Queensland Renewable Energy Zones, allowing it to unlock large volumes of renewable energy investment.

Queensland Hydro

The Queensland Government has established a publicly-owned entity, Queensland Hydro, to develop and deliver the large-scale pumped hydro assets that will be the cornerstone of the state’s energy system.
Queensland Hydro will undertake the detailed analytical studies to advise the government on whether
to proceed with further pumped hydro development.

The Premier said the visionary plan set Queensland up for the next century.

“It is about turbo-charging new investment in new minerals, batteries and manufacturing.

“Renewable energy is the cheapest form of new energy.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the two new pumped hydro facilities would be more significant than the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric scheme.

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the Energy and Jobs Plan ensured Queensland’s power generators remain in public ownership.

Source: © The State of Queensland 2022

Source: https://www.epw.qld.gov.au/about/initiatives/pioneer-burdekin-pumped-hydro-energy-storage© The State of Queensland (Department of Energy and Public Works) 2009 – 2022

Image Source: © The State of Queensland 2022

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