A study by the Australian National university has shown that Australia has sufficient potential pumped storage sites to store more than a thousand times as much energy as could ever be needed.
Professor Andrew Blakers, who conducted the study, concluded that there are at least 22,000 locations in Australia which would be suitable for pumped hydro storage.
The greatest potential for pumped hydro storage is in the Great Dividing Range, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria.
Australia’s first pumped hydro facility was opened in the 1973 at the Tumut 3 Power Station at Talbingo in New South Wales Snowy Mountains. Tumut 3 has a capacity of 1.5 gigawatt hours. Professor Blakers’ team estimated there is potential to build further 29,000 gigawatt hours’ worth of storage capacity across 8,600 sites in the State.
In Victoria, they estimated that there are 4,400 potential sites capable of storing 11,000 gigawatt hours’ capacity and in Tasmania there are 2,050 sites, with the potential of storing another 6,000 gigawatt hours of energy. Queensland has 1,770 sites and a capacity for 7,000 gigawatt hours, while Western Australia has 3,800 sites with a capacity for 8,000 gigawatt hours and the Northern Territory has 1,550 sites and the potential to store 5,000 gigawatt hours. Only South Australia lacks a large potential capacity but still has 185 potential sites which could store up to 500 gigawatt hours.