April 2021

Purpose. To explain that pumped hydro is not a feasible method to “firm” or support the intermittent energy from wind farms.

Background. The NSW Roadmap towards green energy includes a number of Renewable Energy Zones with wind farms to substitute for the coal fired power stations that are expected to close by 2035.

Critical Issues. 

Wind droughts. There are frequent and prolonged “wind droughts” when there is next to no wind across SE Australia for many hours and even days at a time.
Firming. To maintain the supply of power that is required to match demand, the intermittent input from the wind has to be firmed, that is, supported by “dispatchable” power from reliable sources that can be switched on as required.
The main kinds of firming power are gas, pumped hydro and battery storage
Using gas is not consistent with the net zero emissions policy and the Briefing Note 21.4 demonstrated that batteries are not financially feasible for the amount of storage required.
The cost of pumped hydro storage. This study explains the cost of and the technical issues that arise with pumped hydro to conclude that modern HELE USC coal fired plants are an economically and technically superior solution to the supply of power to replace the old plants as they close.


SUPPORTING INFORMATION  Supporting_information_on_the_cost_of_firming_with_pumped_hydro.pdf


That these critical issues be discussed in the party rooms, in the media and among the public.