Bendigo mineshafts could store renewable energy, says study


Wednesday, 21 March, 2018


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A pre-feasibility study co-funded by the Victorian Government and the City of Greater Bendigo has proven it is technically feasible and economically viable to store renewable energy using Bendigo’s empty mineshafts.

The study investigated the viability of using pumped hydro to store electricity and support integration of renewable energy generation into the grid. It developed a pumped hydro project concept which has a generation capacity of 30 MW and could store 180 MWh of energy, or six hours’ worth.

The study determined there is a strong prospect for cost-effective energy storage in regional Victoria, which could help the city achieve its goal of becoming a net exporter of renewable energy. If built, it is anticipated the project would create 50–60 jobs during construction and five jobs during operation.

The pre-feasibility study did find further issues that would need to be assessed in a full feasibility study, such as the accuracy of the 3D modelling of the mine shafts and rock stability. The government is thus calling for expressions of interest from industry and other parties to progress this work into a full study.

Information sessions will soon be held in Melbourne and Bendigo to provide interested parties with an opportunity to seek further details, with dates and times to be announced shortly. The government is encouraging industry to take the concept through to the next stage.

“There is enormous potential for Bendigo’s empty mineshafts to store dispatchable, renewable energy and support generation into the grid,” said Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.

“This is an exciting next step in potentially storing significant renewable energy capacity — which can be dispatched to the grid at any time as needed.”

A copy of the pre-feasibility study is available at https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/renewable-energy/pumped-hydro.

Image credit: ©iStockphoto.com/ANDRS EDUARD

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