Eutility's weekly news

Delta Electricity in $410m pumped hydro push

Delta Electricity in $410m pumped hydro push

Coal power champion Trevor St Baker's Delta Electricity is to move swiftly into the pumped hydro sector after securing South Australian government approval for a 230-megawatt project near Port Augusta that is following a fast-tracked development process.

The $410 million Goat Hill project, being built by Delta together with Altura Group, will provide "reliable and affordable" energy storage to complement a state that has seen major growth in renewable energy and a reliance on high-cost gas generation, Delta managing director Greg Everett said.

The shifts in the South Australian energy market have seen that state become a core of the emerging electricity storage market, with Tesla's high-profile 100MW battery installed at the Hornsdale wind farm last year.

EnergyAustralia is advancing a $480 million pumped hydro project using seawater, also in the vicinity of Port Augusta, while Tilt Renewables, controlled by New Zealand's Infratil, is planning a circa $400 million pumped hydro project at an old quarry in Highbury, in Adelaide's outer northern suburbs.

Pumped hydro, a physical type of energy storage, involves pumping water from a lower reservoir to a higher one when energy is surplus or cheap, and running it downhill through turbines to generate electricity when demand and prices are high.

Existing projects include a power station at the Snowy Hydro scheme, Origin Energy's Shoalhaven project in NSW and CS Energy's Wivenhoe project in Queensland.

Delta, which operates the 1320MW Vales Point coal power plant on NSW's Central Coast, said it was "confident that Goat Hill will be 'shovel-ready' well before competing projects in South Australia". A final investment decision is targeted for this year.

Altura, which is responsible for project development, has already signed up contractors SNC Lavalin, WBHO Infrastructure and SRG, using technology from GE.

The SA government will provide $4.7 million to help accelerate the final investment decision.

The Goat Hill project will be able to generate 230MW of power for up to eight hours.

Delta, which is jointly owned by Mr St Baker and coal entrepreneur Brian Flannery, is also developing a $75 million, 45MW solar farm adjacent to the Vales Point generator.

Its $1 million acquisition of the Vales Point coal plant in 2015 from the NSW government was hugely successful, with the generator revalued late last year to $722 million.

Financial Review

Post a comment

Captcha Image