Solar and potentially wind power will supply the local electricity grid. Surplus energy will be stored using pumped hydropower, which can respond rapidly to meet spikes in demand or to cover short dips in solar or wind power output.
The project uses much of the old mine’s infrastructure, including its two pits, water pipeline, and 132kV powerline and substations. The pits are now flooded, in effect making them reservoirs.
Water will be pumped from the lower to the upper one – a height difference of 222m – and released when required to provide 250MW peak power.
Our engineers optimised the design to secure financial backing. In all, 270MW of solar capacity will be installed. The first phase of the hub, a 50MW solar array, started generating power at the end of 2017, providing more than 26,000 Australian homes with electricity and avoiding about 120,000t of CO2 a year.
It’s exciting to do something that’s never been attempted before in Australia or on this scale anywhere in the world.