Qld plans second pumped hydro project

·2-min read

Most people would picture small metallic cylinders when they hear the word batteries, but the Queensland treasurer imagines dams.

Cameron Dick wants to build a hydropower dam with another lower reservoir nearby, from which water can be pumped uphill into the dam during the day to generate more electricity at night.

He said the project, known as pumped hydro, will essentially be a 5-7 gigawatt battery that can pump into the grid when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.

Mr Dick visited the Splityard Creek Dam on Friday to commit $35 million to a feasibility study for the major project.

"Behind me is a battery, a 28 trillion litre battery, because during the day when we're producing more renewable energy than we need, we pump water from Wivenhoe Dam up to this dam," he told reporters.

"And then at night, when the sun is down, and long after the sun is down, we can drive that water down the hill again spinning those turbines and creating renewable power again for Queenslanders."

Pumped hydro projects require a water source and elevation with 14 sites across the state being considered.

As well as funding the study for a 5-7GW pumped hydro project, the government will invest $13 million to quickly finalise feasibility studies for a potential 1.0GW project Borumba Dam, near Gympie.

Electricity storage is crucial for Queensland to wean itself off coal-fired generation, which provides about 70 per cent of the state's power.

Households are already feeling the pinch of fossil fuels reliance with their electricity bills set to rise by at least $41-$55 per month from July.

About $44 will be wiped from bills with a one-off rebate, but the ongoing energy crisis has jolted the government into enacting long term plans sooner.

Queenslanders use about 10.5 GW of electricity per day with planned and existing pumped hydro projects potentially able to store 8.5 GW by 2030.

Mr Dick has made number of announcements this week about the 2022/23 budget, in which he expects to spend about $1.5 billion more than the government earns.

That's about $900 million lower than the deficit he was forecasting six months ago, partly due to rising taxes on coal miners and gambling firms.

The government is also expected to start pocketing any interest earnings on rental tenant bonds from July 1.

The new income will be deposited into a $200 million fund for new roads, sewerage systems and other infrastructure in the southeast to spur new housing developments.

Public high school students will also get free period products, while $72 million will go towards a new aeromedical hub at Brisbane Airport.

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