ARKANSAS, Nov 20 (Future Headlines)- The Central West Pumped Hydro Project (CWPH), a significant venture proposed for development in New South Wales, Australia, is set to play a pivotal role in the region’s transition towards sustainable energy. Spearheaded by ATCO Australia with the support of Altura Group, the project aims to harness the power of pumped hydro storage, providing a reliable and efficient source of energy for the future.

ATCO Australia, in collaboration with Altura Group, is the driving force behind the CWPH. The CWPH is designed with a nominal capacity of 325MW, showcasing its potential to contribute significantly to the energy needs of the region.

Upon completion, the project will boast an impressive energy storage capacity of 2,600MWh (eight hours), equivalent to powering 153,000 homes. As of July 2023, ATCO is in the final stages of preparing the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Subject to approvals, construction is anticipated to commence in late 2024, with operations scheduled to begin in 2029.

The CWPH will be situated on private land approximately 21km southeast of Bathurst and 180km west of Sydney. Molybdonite Road provides access to the site, connecting to the National Highway route A32, the Great Western Highway.

The project’s permanent infrastructure will cover approximately 85 hectares, with an additional 170 hectares designated as the development footprint. A broader project study area of around 460 hectares has been outlined to encompass the project’s surroundings.

An upper reservoir, forming a crucial part of the hydro storage system, will have a surface area of approximately 30 hectares and a 15-meter operating range. A steel pipeline (penstock) of about 1,400 meters in length and 5 meters in diameter will connect the upper and lower reservoirs, facilitating water flow. A sub-surface powerhouse, positioned around 60 meters below natural ground level, will house two reversible Francis pump-turbine units and associated equipment.

The lower reservoir, located within Frying Pan Creek, will feature a rock-filled embankment dam with a surface area of approximately 30 hectares and a 19-meter operating range. A secondary dam, positioned about 1,000 meters upstream of the main dam, is under consideration in the detailed engineering phase. A permanent water supply pipeline, with a diameter ranging from 350mm to 500mm, is proposed for underground construction, utilizing High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE).

An 8-kilometer private access road will be constructed to facilitate access to the lower and upper reservoir sites. The project will connect to the TransGrid transmission network through a 330kV underground transmission line, located approximately 6.8 kilometers north of the site. ATCO is currently finalizing the CWPH’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as of July 2023.

WSP Global, an engineering and professional services company, has been actively involved in delivering the reference design of major project elements and refining its scope, schedule, and budget. The CWPH, with its significant energy storage capacity, is poised to contribute to the power needs of the region, potentially providing sustainable energy to 153,000 homes. The project’s capability to store energy during surplus electricity generation and release it during emergencies and peak demand periods positions it as a valuable asset for grid stability.

The Central West Pumped Hydro Project represents a critical step toward achieving a sustainable and resilient energy future for New South Wales. Its innovative design, incorporating pumped hydro storage, underscores the commitment to environmentally friendly energy solutions. As the project progresses through regulatory approvals and construction, it has the potential to be a cornerstone in the region’s renewable energy landscape, contributing to reduced carbon emissions and increased energy security. The collaboration between ATCO Australia, Altura Group, and strategic partners reflects a concerted effort to shape a cleaner and more sustainable energy future for generations to come.

Reporting by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White