• REP has secured AUD 2 million in funding from the Australian government to conduct feasibility study for a renewable energy hub
  • The project will involve a 1.5 GW pumped hydro electric plant proposed to also have up to 1.3 GW of solar, 500 MW of wind and 200 MW hydrogen electrolyser
  • It will be combined with Urannah Water Scheme in Queensland state
  • Project developers expect the hub to provide reliable and dispatchable power supply and could be grid connected by 2027

The federal government in Australia has approved up to AUD 2 million ($1.34 million) to cover a feasibility study on a 1.5 GW pumped hydro-electric plant proposed by Renewable Energy Partners Pty (REP) in Queensland. It will be developed in conjunction with the proposed Urannah Water Scheme between Colinsville, Proserpine and Mackay regions in the state.

Named Urannah Renewable Energy Hub, the project proposes to build a 1.5 GW pumped hydro plant with 7 hours of storage capacity, up to 1.3 GW of solar, 500 MW wind and a 200 MW hydrogen electrolyser, all of which is expected to support export scale hydrogen production, reported local media.

The project is touted as the ‘battery of the north’ and will be combined with the Urannah Water Scheme which is about a 1,500 gigaliter (GL) dam and water distribution network yet to see the light of the day.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) said REP’s Chief Executive Luke McDonald is confident of the project being competitive for commercial and industrial energy users in central and north Queensland. Speaking to RenewEconomy, McDonald said it is not clear if the project would build up to 1.3 GW of solar but the region does have strong solar and wind resources and this would be among the factors to be explored during the feasibility study. It would also explore the potential for offtake agreements and financing for a project of this magnitude.

RenewEconomy said the company claims the project could deliver firm renewable generation, reduce marginal losses and provide reliable and dispatchable supply – and it could be grid connected by around 2027.