WaterNSW, a New South Wales Government–owned company in Australia, has selected UHH to conduct investigations into two pumped hydro energy storage projects with 1GW of capacity.

The two projects will have the potential to store the energy for eight to 12 hours, equivalent to powering one million household batteries.

Upper Hunter Hydro, co-founded by former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Lucy Turnbull, was selected through a competitive tender process as part of WaterNSW’s renewable energy and storage programme.

The selection grants UHH access to WaterNSW land and reservoirs in the Hunter Valley – Glenbawn dam near Scone and Glennies Creek dam near Singleton.

The proposed pumped hydro projects may also incorporate integrated wind energy.

WaterNSW CEO Andrew George stated that the projects are regarded as key developments to enhance sustainability and that the company is exploring renewable energy generation and storage solutions across its properties.

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George said: “We have an opportunity to not only assist the transition to a renewable energy power grid, but to also assist in the creation of jobs, support the local community and generate revenue to put downward pressure on water costs for customers.

“We are continuing to assess sites across our portfolio to identify further opportunities.”

The development agreement provides UHH with the opportunity to carry out necessary investigations on the designated sites.

These preliminary assessments will focus on advancing the projects through their feasibility and planning phases, during which UHH will also aim to obtain all required approvals and consents.

If investigations prove successful and the projects receive approval, the company will be responsible for the construction and operation of the facilities.

The potential economic impact of these projects includes the creation of 1,400 jobs during construction and 80 permanent operations positions.

UHH director Malcolm Turnbull said: “Australia has abundant wind and solar generation, some of the best in the world, but the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.

“Pumped hydro provides the long-duration energy storage we need to make renewables available 24/7 and secure our clean energy future.”

In December 2022, WaterNSW selected ACEN Australia to conduct a feasibility test for the proposed Burrendong pumped hydro project with 810MW of capacity.