A pumped hydro energy system (PHES) is a well proven technology having first been used in Europe in the late 1800s. Like batteries, PHES technology already plays an important role in the decarbonisation of Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) and will continue to play an increasingly critical role in our future energy economy.
The addition of hydrogen electrolysers and liquefaction plant to a standard PHES is proposed in order to help accelerate the transition away from coal-fired base load power while providing liquid hydrogen for supply to early adopter hydrogen fuel cell truck fleets thus reducing national fuel security concerns.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) calls for at least 16GW of additional storage capacity for the NEM by 2050 using utility scale batteries and PHES1. Deployment of these complementary technologies is determined by their capacity / discharge duration(s), with batteries ideal for intra-day storage up to four hours in the MWh range while PHES is suited to inter-day storage in the GWh range.
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