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Construction underway on WA’s first pumped hydro solution

Construction underway on WA’s first pumped hydro solution

Energy minister Bill Johnston has announced construction has officially begun on a pumped hydro renewable microgrid, the first in Western Australia.

A collaborative project between WA-based engineering company Power Research and Development (PRD) and Western Power, the self-sufficient renewable solution will significantly improve power reliability for homes and businesses in Walpole.

It will be used as a blueprint for other parts of the State, and possibly nationally and internationally.

“Walpole is at the end of a 125-kilometre-long feeder line that is exposed to disruptive elements such as vegetation and animals, storms, lightning and bushfires,” Johnston said.

“The pumped hydro solution will reduce the number of outages in Walpole using green energy at no additional cost to businesses or the community while generating quality local jobs.

“This project plays an important role in our clean energy future, supports the increasing rise of renewables, and assists in balancing power demand and supply.”

The 1.5-megawatt pumped hydro facility will use two farm dams to store 30MW hours of energy and works by pumping water uphill from one dam to another when renewables are abundant and energy is cheap.

During periods of high demand, the water is released downhill through a hydro generation unit to produce electricity. In the event of an outage, it will supply power to the Walpole townsite.

The project was awarded $2 million as part of the WA State Government’s Clean Energy Future Fund, which supports the implementation of innovative clean energy projects in WA.

The project will boost employment and economic growth in the area, with Denmark-based company MCC Contractors undertaking the main earthworks creating 12 jobs, with an additional 38 jobs in other trades, services, and design work.

On the distribution side of the project, Western Power is finalising works to connect Walpole homes and businesses to the world-class energy solution.

Following the completion of the lower dam, works on the upper dam and pipe installation to connect the two dams will be completed next year.

The renewable microgrid is expected to be operational in the second half of 2023.

For more information, visit here.

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