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A joint venture of AGL and Idemitsu Australia Resources (IAR) – Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro – has signed an agreement with Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo) which will provide the JV with funding to expand on work already underway for the proposed Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro Project.

The 250MW pumped hydro project will provide eight hours of energy storage and has been awarded $9.45 million funding under the New South Wales Government’s Pumped Hydro Recoverable Grants Program. The funding will enable the project to advance development studies to a stage where the project is ready for investment. 

Pumped hydro works by circulating water from a lower reservoir into an upper storage site where, upon demand, water is released from the upper storage site and uses gravity to turn turbines and generate electricity.

The Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro project is exploring an innovative model whereby an existing mine void from Idemitsu’s Muswellbrook Coal mine acts as the lower reservoir. 

The Grant funding will be used to complete a targeted geotechnical due diligence program, detailed design of the project, connection studies and contractor engagement. 

The JV will also undertake comprehensive Traditional Owner and community consultation to prepare the project for an investment decision.

Having worked closely with Muswellbrook Shire Council to identify the option, a preliminary engineering study began in 2019 to determine whether the project is technically feasible, to provide cost estimates for both construction and operation, and to assess the necessary planning and approval processes.

AGL Chief Operating Officer, Markus Brokhof, welcomed the support of the New South Wales Government and said he was pleased to see the project progressing to the next stage.

“Today we’re announcing another step forward in planning for what could be a significant energy asset for the people of Australia and the Upper Hunter community,” Mr Brokhof said.

“As we transition to more renewable energy sources, pumped hydro provides a reliable on-demand generation source and acceleration of our development studies will help us understand how the Project could be delivered.

“AGL has 2.9GW of wind, battery, pumped hydro and other low carbon and firming projects in active planning and development, and we will continue to look to invest in projects like Muswellbrook Pumped Hydro.”

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