AGL and Idemitsu Australia Resources (IAR) have today announced the preliminary phase of the feasibility study for the proposed 250 megawatt Bells Mountain pumped hydro project at Muswellbrook is nearing completion.
The preliminary engineering study began in 2019 to determine whether the project is technically feasible, provide cost estimates for both construction and operation, and assess the required planning and approval processes.
AGL Chief Operating Officer, Markus Brokhof, said AGL views the project as potentially beneficial to the community and Australia’s energy transition.
“As we transition to more renewable energy sources, pumped hydro provides a reliable on-demand generation source,” Mr Brokhof said.
“We have worked closely with Muswellbrook Shire Council throughout this study and I’d like to thank them for their role in identifying the option.”
“AGL is proud to be part of this Upper Hunter community and is committed to investing in the region through projects like pumped hydro which will contribute to jobs and the region’s future in energy generation,” he said.
IAR Chief Commercial Officer, Chris Walsh, said the results from the preliminary phase of the feasibility study are promising and the business is investigating further renewable energy development and export opportunities through its subsidiary Idemitsu Renewable Development Australia (IRDA).
“Innovative rehabilitation solutions such as the reuse of mine voids as proposed with the Bells Mountain pumped hydro project ensure that sites like Muswellbrook can continue to generate investment and long-term employment.”
Pumped hydro works by circulating water from the lower reservoir in a mine void into an upper storage site. Upon demand, water is released and uses gravity to turn turbines and generate electricity.
Following completion of the preliminary study AGL and Idemitsu intend to proceed with completion of a full feasibility study including a targeted geotechnical drilling program, detailed design of the project, contractor engagement and securing the critical environmental approvals.
The full feasibility study is the next phase towards potential completion of the project in 2027.