We looked into expanding our Shoalhaven hydro power station.
The current station was constructed in 1977. It consists of 240MW of combined generation and pump capacity at two sites. The proposed expansion will add one additional unit, or approximately 235MW, of new capacity.
The expansion would have the potential to support more renewable energy coming into our National Electricity Market and make it more secure.
Hydro pump storage acts effectively like a giant battery, storing excess wind and solar power that can be quickly fed into the National Electricity Market when it’s needed.
The Shoalhaven hydro power station was designed to allow for future expansion, so much of the infrastructure needed to grow the station is already in place.
- There's space for a new water pipeline and no new dams are required for the expansion, while the increased electricity output will flow through the existing high voltage substation and transmission lines nearby.
- The tunnels and power station cavern will be located underground (at depths up to 300 metres), which will reduce impacts to the environment and community.
- A new intake/outlet will be built to access water at Lake Yarrunga to increase capacity at the station.
The video animation shows how this will work.
With the support of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Origin completed a full feasibility assessment that included:
- Geotechnical investigation including drilling, access track construction and site facilities
- Biodiversity surveys and assessments
- Bathymetric surveys and assessments to determine water depths and quality
- Traffic and transport assessments
- Land surveys (likely to be conducted by both aerial drone and on foot)
- Selection of major contractors
- Completion of final designs
This assessment determined that while the addition of a 235 MW unit is technically feasible, it is not commercially feasible in the current economic environment. Origin will continue to consider this expansion project for our portfolio in the future.
Shoalhaven environment approvals
In March 2019 Origin submitted an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the geotechnical works to the NSW Department of Environment and Planning. These works form part of the broader Shoalhaven feasibility assessment and were completed in late 2019.
You can view the EIS and all related documents below.