The hydro power station has a capacity of 58 MW and produces about 203 GWh per year. But the station, built in 1957, is limited by the amount of water available to produce electricity.
The battery will store power from the station in periods of low demand and provide the market with power at peak periods. Electricity is to be transmitted on power lines already in place in New South Wales and Victoria and the battery will be connected to a substation with an underground cable.
Hume-BESS (Battery Energy Storage System) is the first project to jointly use hydro power and a battery.
“As renewable energy becomes a greater part of our energy mix, projects like this will help to support the continued growth of our economy by delivering a modern, cheap and reliable energy grid for the people of NSW,” said Matt Kean, New South Wales Energy Minister.
The project is to be completed by the end of 2021.
Traditional hydro power stations are considered a part of “green” renewable energy. But the amount of water available in reservoirs – and therefore opportunities to produce electricity – depends on weather conditions and seasonal factors.
Alternative hydro stations using dams could become hydro-storage power stations at which “excess” capacity is used to pump water into reservoirs in order to produce power at times of peak demand. But many experts see a mix of hydro power and batteries as the most promising form.
In 2019, Australia for the first time produced more than half its power from renewable sources. The country is among the world’s biggest exporters of coal and liquefied natural gas, but is actively developing renewable energy sources. Last year, greenhouse gases were reduced more as a result of use of renewables than by the effects of the COVID pandemic.