On the back of completing a successful concept study, today Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance has committed to spending $1.7m on pre-feasibility studies for its Middleback Range Pumped Hydro Project.
Targeted for ultimate delivery in 2022, this project’s critical next step should take 6 months to complete and will include high level designs, engineering studies, network studies, geotechnical investigation, market modelling and commercial evaluation.
The pre-feasibility studies will be conducted by local South Australian company SIMEC ZEN Energy, which became part of the GFG Alliance in September 2017. The project forms part of SIMEC ZEN Energy’s strategic plan to establish 1 Gigawatt of additional dispatchable renewable energy generation in South Australia, which will provide access to lower cost, reliable, and low emission energy for both GFG’s own steelworks at Whyalla and other industrial and commercial users across Australia.
The Middleback Range Pumped Hydro Project represents a new approach to increasing Australia’s energy security by converting a depleted iron ore pit into energy infrastructure. Based on current estimates of potential size, its 90MW, four hour storage technology is estimated to represent a $170m investment in South Australia’s energy future.
The study costs are being partially supported by a $500,000 grant from the SA Government’s Renewable Technology Fund. The GFG Alliance is grateful for this funding which is speeding the way for Australia to reach a more economic, secure, reliable and sustainable electricity network.
With its unique industry focus integrating energy with mining,GFG Alliance is unlocking new value from legacy mining projects that can be passed on for the benefit of Australia’s future generations.
Commenting on this committment, Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman of GFG Alliance said:
“The cost of solar and wind is rapidly declining globally with the evolution of technology and economies of scale. However, without a viable large-scale storage solution this revolution is incomplete and unsustainable.
“Pumped hydro has the prospect of being a macro solution to power storage. We at GFG Alliance are very proud and excited to be playing a key role in the development of this breakthrough. Using the empty mining pits from our SIMEC Mining division in South Australia as reservoirs for storing hydro power, and the using the specific expertise of SIMEC ZEN Energy to develop this technology, we will balance power generated by our large-scale solar projects in Whyalla with dispatchable hydro power generated in the Middleback ranges.
“A dramatic reduction in power price is the most important ingredient needed for an industrial renaissance in Australia, which GFG is entirely committed to effecting. Solar and pumped hydro together is the combination that can achieve this. This can be a game changer for our highly energy intensive industries such as steel and aluminium”.