Federal government pumps funding into hydro storage technology

Concept of the Kidston Solar Project (ABC)

The federal government has given the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), $54 million for a large scale solar plant which has the potential to support pumped hydro storage, according to The Guardian.  The solar development is Genex’s Kidston Solar Plant in Queensland. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) has already given $4 million to the next phase of the project – a 250 megawatt pumped hydro storage project.

If the hydro pump project goes ahead smoothly, it will be the first time in Australia that a hydro pump project has been co-located with a mass-scale solar farm.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said that the project demonstrated hydro-pump storage could help stabilise the grid because solar and wind power are intermittent.

“Developing storage technology for renewables is important for stabilising the grid as electricity can still be used when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing,” Turnbull said. 

“Now, more than ever, we have to ensure that renewable energy is being properly integrated into the grid following a series of blackouts in South Australia.” 

The Kidston Solar project is expected to produce 145,000 megawatt-hours of electricity during its first year of operation.