GE Renewable Energy and BE Power have signed an agreement to co-develop the 400 MW Big-T (Cressbrook) pumped hydro storage project in Toowoomba, Australia. Under the agreement, GE Renewable Energy’s Hydro Solutions business will work alongside BE Power and their partners to optimize and finalize the design of the plant and help the project secure financing and reach commercial operations.
“The Big-T Pumped Hydro Storage Power Plant will help facilitate new wind and solar projects and provide firming and grid support services at a critical point in the National Electricity Market. Being the first new pumped hydro project completed in Queensland in over 35 years, the Big T will help balance the output of wind and solar across the market, ensuring power is available when needed,” said Scott Walkem, Managing Director of BE Power.
When generating, the project will provide power equivalent to the demand of roughly 200,000 typical Queensland households; when pumping, it will provide long-duration, high capacity storage to absorb excess wind and solar output. At all times, it will provide valuable system strength and inertia to the grid, safeguarding security and reliability.
As Queensland pushes towards its target of 50% renewables by 2030, projects such as the Big T will be vital enablers, ensuring that supply continues to meet demand, despite the variable nature of other renewable energy resources. Given the scale of the transformation that is under way, pumped hydro projects such as the Big T represent by far the most cost-effective and long-lasting solution for the high capacity, long duration storage that is needed.
“Nearly half of the more than 8 GW of hydropower capacity operating in Australia today is powered by our turbines, generators or both. Thirty percent of the world’s hydro storage plants are equipped with GE’s technologies, including the reversible Francis technology that would be used at the Big-T project. We are really excited to join forces with BE Power at the forefront of the next wave of Australian pumped hydro storage,” said Pascal Radue, CEO of GE Renewable Energy Hydro Solutions.