Pumped hydro has the potential to be part of a 100 percent renewable energy mix in the next 20 years, according to researchers at the Australian National University.
The ANU report pinpoints 22,000 suitable sites for pumped hydro across Australia which, if linked with storage at only small number, would generate enough power for the nation along with other renewable technologies.
ANU enginnering professor Andrew Blackers said even focussing only on pumped hydro, Australia could be 100 percent powered by renewables in two decades, using solely pumped hydro as a source.
“No matter where you are in Australia, you will find a good pumped hydro site not very far away from where you or your wind or solar farm is located,” Blackers said.
“We ony need to build about one or two dozen to support a 100 percent renewable energy grid.
“Pumped hydro, high voltage DC interconnectors between the states, solar photovoltaics, wind, batteries and demand management can do the whole job.”
NSW was the state with the most potential for pumped hydro, with the opportunity to build 29,000 gigawatt hours of storage across 8600 sites, while Victoria has 4400 sites and Tasmania 2050.
Pumped hydro involves pumping water uphill between connected reservoirs, with power despatched to the gird when demand is high.