US-based engineering firm Bechtel has secured a contract from BE Power and GE Renewable Energy, a division of General Electric, to provide planning support for a pumped storage hydropower facility in Australia.

The Big-T hydropower project is located at Lake Cressbrook in south-east Queensland.

It consists of a 400MW pumped hydro energy storage facility and a battery energy storage facility with 200MW of capacity, which is enough to power 288,000 homes with clean electricity.

The project will serve as an extension to Australia’s national energy grid, as it has the capability to both produce and store electricity.

Bechtel has agreed to support the project development under a service agreement that includes advancing the design, as well as facilitating early contractor cost savings and buildability.

The company will also be responsible for initiating supply chain engagement, with the aim of maximising local content and indigenous participation.

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Data provided by Bechtel are expected to help in Big-T’s feasibility study.

A final investment decision (FID) for the project will be taken late next year. Once the FID is reached, Bechtel will undertake the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) process for the project. 

Upon completion, Big-T is expected to support the transition of Australia’s baseload of electricity away from coal generation power plants.

It will also help the Queensland state government achieve its target of generating 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

In addition, the Big-T project is expected to reduce electricity costs and facilitate a more reliable supply of power to consumers.

Bechtel Asia-Pacific Infrastructure general manager Scott Osborne said: “A sustainable energy future is today’s global goal and energy storage facilities have a significant role in us achieving it.

“Big-T will help create renewable energy opportunities for Queenslanders in terms of a more cost-effective and reliable energy system, and local job and business opportunities not just in long-duration storage but in the broader system it supports.”