The Victorian Government is calling for expressions of interest to investigate the viability of using pumped hydro to store electricity in Bendigo’s empty mineshafts.

A pre-feasibility study co-funded by the Victorian Government and City of Greater Bendigo has proven it’s technically feasible and economically viable to store renewable energy using Bendigo’s empty mineshafts.

The study investigated the viability of using pumped hydro to store electricity and support integration of renewable energy generation into the grid.

The study developed a pumped hydro project concept which has a generation capacity of 30MW and could store six hours or 180MWh of energy – boosting the reliability of the local power grid.

The study determined there was a strong prospect for cost-effective energy storage in regional Victoria, which could help the city achieve its goal of becoming a net exporter of renewable energy.

The pre-feasibility study found further issues that would need to be assessed in a full feasibility study, such as the accuracy of the 3D modelling of the mine shafts and rock stability.

The Victorian Government contributed $100,000 to the initiative, with an additional $50,000 provided by the City of Greater Bendigo.

A full feasibility study will now be carried out.

If built, it’s anticipated this project would create 50-60 jobs during construction and five jobs during operation.

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said “There is enormous potential for Bendigo’s empty mineshafts to store dispatchable, renewable energy and support generation into the grid.

“This is an exciting next step in potentially storing significant renewable energy capacity – which can be dispatched to the grid at any time as needed.

“New energy technology is delivering jobs and a more affordable and reliable energy system to regional Victoria.”

The government is seeking expressions of interest from industry and other parties during March-April 2018 to progress this work into a full feasibility study. 

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