GE Renewable Energy and BE Power have signed an agreement to co-develop the 400 MW Big-T (Cressbrook) pumped hydro storage project in Toowoomba, Australia.
GE Renewable Energy’s Hydro Solutions will work alongside BE Power and its partners to refine and finalize the design of the plant and help the project secure funding and enter commercial operations.
“The Big-T Pumped Hydro Storage Power Plant will help facilitate new wind and solar projects and provide firming and grid support services at a critical point in the National Electricity Market. Being the first new pumped hydro project completed in Queensland in over 35 years, the Big T will help balance the output of wind and solar across the market, ensuring power is available when needed.”Scott Walkem, managing director of BE Power.
When generating, the project will provide electricity equivalent to the demand of approximately 200,000 average Queensland households; when pumping, it will provide long-term high-capacity storage to absorb excess wind and solar power. It will provide important system power and inertia to the grid at all times, ensuring protection and reliability.
As Queensland progresses towards its goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030, initiatives such as the Big T will make it important to ensure that supply continues to meet demand despite the volatile existence of other renewable energy resources. Given the scope of the transformation underway, pumped hydro projects such as the Big T are by far the most cost-effective and long-lasting option for high-capacity, long-term storage needs.
“Nearly half of the more than 8 GW of hydropower capacity operating in Australia today is powered by our turbines, generators or both. Thirty percent of the world’s hydro storage plants are equipped with GE’s technologies, including the reversible Francis technology that would be used at the Big-T project. We are really excited to join forces with BE Power at the forefront of the next wave of Australian pumped hydro storage.”Pascal Radue, CEO of GE Renewable Energy Hydro Solutions.