Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro to deliver reliable, low-cost electricity – strengthening Australia’s clean energy future

Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro to deliver reliable, low-cost electricity – strengthening Australia’s clean energy future

September 5, 2022,

Through its JV with AGL, Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro Pty Ltd, Idemitsu Australia has signed a $9.45 million Funding Agreement with the NSW Government’s Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo), to progress the proposed Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) project at their old Muswellbrook Coal mine site.

The pumped hydro project, to be delivered by Idemitsu in partnership with AGL, will provide reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity to households and businesses across the state.

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.

As Australia transitions to include more renewable energy sources, hydroelectric energy storage can provide large amounts of long duration storage to keep electricity running and is shaping up to be a critical part of NSW’s future energy system.

Water will be pumped 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 the 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.

Idemitsu’s masterplan for the old Muswellbrook Coal mine site includes a proposal to convert the area to a Clean Energy and Industrial Precinct delivering potential for new employment and economic opportunities in the region.

The project and new precinct will incorporate green hydrogen, solar, battery energy storage systems (BESS) and pumped hydro, and is a key part of Idemitsu’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions by four million tonnes and generate four gigawatts of renewable energy across its global portfolio by 2030.

Mr Steve Kovac, Chief Executive Officer Idemitsu Australia, said the Company is keen to invest in renewable energy projects which 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. 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,” he said.

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 NSW 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.

Conceptual artists impression of Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro

The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the NSW Government. The NSW Government does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained herein.