New Zealand’s energy and resources minister Megan Woods said her government will consider the viability of pumped hydro as part of the next stage of the NZ Battery Project.
This and an alternative, multi-technology approach, is part of the long-term plan for a resilient, affordable, secure and decarbonised energy system in New Zealand, she said.
The NZ Battery Project was established in late 2020 to find innovative solutions to the “dry year problem”, when hydro-electricity lakes run low, leading to the burning of more fossil fuels to cover the electricity shortfall.
“A dry year solution would be a huge step towards our mission to move towards more renewable energy generation and power more of New Zealand in New Zealand,” she said.
“The Government has also agreed to continue looking at alternatives to the scheme including a combination of comparator technologies and scoping a possible smaller pumped hydro scheme in the central North Island, subject to agreement with iwi.”
A detailed business plan is expected by the end of 2024. A final investment decision is due to take a further two years.
Phase 1 investigations show a 3–8.5TWh pumped hydro scheme at Lake Onslow. It would take 7–9 years to build at an estimated cost of NZD15.7 billion (USD9.7 billion).
Lake Onslow, Central Otago. Wikimedia Commons