Energy Insiders Podcast: The future of pumped hydro

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ANU’s Andrew Blakers and GE’s Bill Armstrong on the future of pumped hydro in Australia. Where and when will it be built?

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Forget the politics of energy for the moment, Australia is charging towards a grid dominated by wind and solar. Most everyone knows understands that, particularly the people whose responsibility it is to manage the grid and keep the lights on.

That puts the focus on storage and dispatchability. The Tesla big battery, and the half dozen other projects that have followed it, have caught a lot of attention. But it won’t be all.

To deal with longer storage time frames, and the need for spinning machines, pumped hydro is also on the menu – from the huge Snowy 2.0 project, Tasmania’s ambitious “battery of the nation” proposal, to dozens of other different smaller projects located around the grid.

Some, like the Genex project at Kidston, will be directly linked to large scale solar and possibly wind farms, as will the pumped hydro project planned by Sanjeev Gupta in Whyalla. Both would be located in former mines.

So why are we doing it and what is the cost. In this special episode of Energy Insiders, sponsored by GE, we talk with Adrew Blakers, the ANU energy expert who has helped compile Australia’s most detailed analysis of pumped hydro possibilities and how that helps Australia move to a 100 per cent renewable grid.

And we also talk to GE’s pumped hydro expert Bill Armstrong, who took time from a recent visit to Australia to discuss the benefits of the technology.

You can listen to this and other podcasts from our Energy Insiders series, and the Solar Insiders series, here, or on your favourite platform.

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