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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP


NSW’s pumped hydro future is being fast tracked as five projects with a combined capacity of almost 1.75 gigawatts (GW), have been awarded funding under the NSW Pumped Hydro Recoverable Grants Program.

Treasurer and Minister for Energy Matt Kean said the program provides recoverable grants to pumped hydro developers including Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro joint venture proponents, AGL and Idemitsu, to help cover upfront costs and lower investment barriers for the private sector.

“Funding agreements are already in place with five applicants who have received a total of $44.8 million to support pre-investment activities, establish project feasibility and develop a strategic business case,” Mr Kean said.

“If these pumped hydro projects proceed to construction, they are expected to create more than 2,300 jobs and attract $4.4 billion of private investment, which will help grow the economy and support the regions.”

Grants will be repaid to the Government if a project reaches financial close, meaning that these same funds could be used to support even more projects in future

Member for Upper Hunter Dave Layzell welcomed the announcement that will accelerate the 250MW Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro project near Muswellbrook.

“Pumped hydro is a key component for the NSW Government’s renewable energy plans and will ensure we have clean, cheap and reliable power while also creating infrastructure and jobs” Mr Layzell said.
“This is significant for the Upper Hunter Electorate because it comes ahead of the impending closure of Muswellbrook Coal’s operations and will provide another exciting step forward to make sure that the region remains an industrial powerhouse.”

Pumped hydro acts like a giant battery for the electricity system. It works by using surplus renewable energy to pump water up a hill when it is sunny and windy, and releasing the water back down the hill through giant turbines that create electricity when it is still and dark.

NSW has a target to build at least 2GW of new, long duration storage by 2030, and the Government has committed $97.5 million to accelerate pumped hydro projects that could meet that target. This includes funding for private projects as well as funding to undertake site investigations for pumped hydro potential on existing WaterNSW dams.

PHOTO CAPTION: Looking ahead: Upper Hunter MP Dave Layzell hosted NSW Treasurer and Minister for Energy Matt Kean for a briefing on the Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro project at the Muswellbrook Coal open cut in December 2021.


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