GE Renewable Energy and Walcha to develop hydro storage in Australia

GE Renewable Energy has signed an agreement with Walcha Energy to develop a 500MW pumped hydro storage project in Australia.

The Dungowan project would power almost 125,000 households from the New England Renewable Energy Zone, in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

The NSW government has designated the Renewable Energy Zone as a strategic priority. Walcha Energy claims the zone will provide nearly 15% of NSW’s power requirements, and Dungowan would generate 2% of that power.

As a whole, it would add 4GW of renewable power to the Australian grid. The companies say the plant will play a key role in the energy transition for NSW and Australia.

Walcha Energy partner Energy Estate managing director Simon Currie said: “The Dungowan Pumped Hydro Storage Power Plant will help facilitate new wind and solar projects, and provide firming and grid support services at a critical point on the Australian National Electricity Market.

“The project represents a unique opportunity to tap into a high-head site, in close proximity to an existing reservoir. It is strategically located between retiring coal capacity to the south and emerging wind and solar capacity to the east, west and north.”

As per the terms of the agreement, GE Renewable Energy’s Hydro Solutions business will provide technical and commercial support to Walcha Energy for the hydro storage power plant.

GE Renewable Energy Hydro Solutions CEO Pascal Radue said: “Nearly half of the more than 8GW of hydropower capacity operating in Australia today is powered by our turbines, generators or both.

“However, it has been many years since new hydro capacity was built in Australia, so GE Renewable Energy is excited and proud to be at the forefront of the next wave of Australian hydropower capacities.”

Last June, GE Renewable Energy agreed to provide predictive operation and maintenance capabilities for Enel Green Power’s hydro plants in Spain.