$45 million for underground renewable energy storage in Broken Hill

Through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Albanese Government is investing in a ground-breaking 250-megawatt renewable storage project in Broken Hill, NSW. This is just the latest in a series of renewable energy projects creating jobs and delivering reliable energy in Australia’s regions.

This $45 million investment will go to developing Australia’s first energy storage facility utilising compressed air technology to back up power supplies on the fringe of the grid in far western NSW.

The sun may not always shine, and the wind may not always blow, but the rain doesn’t always fall either, and just like we store water for when we need it – we can store renewable energy, while creating jobs and putting downward pressure on energy prices.

This project does just that.

The $652 million Silver City Energy Storage Project, by Canadian utility-scale energy storage developer Hydrostor, will compress air during the day, store it in a cavity at a disused local mine, and use it to power homes and businesses in the evening when demands is highest, placing downward pressure on electricity prices and providing reliable backup power for Broken Hill.

The 1600-megawatt hour facility will provide at least 8 hours of renewable energy storage for Broken Hill.

Hydrostor will repurpose a disused mine for its fuel-free underground air-storage facility, which will be connected to Transgrid’s Broken Hill substation via a 16 km transmission line.

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the project would be Australia’s largest medium duration storage project, besides pumped hydro, and will create jobs and keep the lights on.

“As Australia transforms to a more renewable economy, the government is investing in the technologies that will enable us to store more renewable energy so we can use it when we need it,” Minister Bowen said.

“New technologies for medium duration storage like Hydrostor’s technology can provide cheaper energy storage that can help move the nation’s electricity grid to 82% renewables by 2030.

“The private sector has never been keener to invest in innovative projects crucial for Australia’s energy transformation, and we’re delivering the policy certainty and investment support to ensure these projects come forward.”

“The cheapest form of energy by a country mile is renewable energy, backed by transmission and storage, and we’re making sure ARENA’s funding enables Australians to grasp this opportunity,” Minister Bowen said.

The ARENA funding is subject to the project reaching financial close, which is expected by late 2023.