Transgrid welcomes $45 million Federal funding for Broken Hill Compressed Air Energy Storage

21 October 2022

Transgrid has welcomed an announcement by the Commonwealth Government to provide funding towards one of the world’s largest renewable mini-grids, which would provide back-up power supply to Broken Hill in NSW.

In May, Transgrid identified Canadian firm Hydrostor Inc.’s Silver City Energy Storage Project proposal to use compressed air as the preferred long-term solution to support the reliability of electricity supply for the city.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has now conditionally approved $45 million in funding towards a 200 MW / 1,600 MWh energy storage facility, developed by Hydrostor and utilising Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES).

Hydrostor proposes to use compressed air storage in a disused mine, in conjunction with existing local wind and solar generation, to help meet demand. The new technology would replace existing diesel turbines.

Transgrid Executive General Manager of Network Marie Jordan said: “We welcome the Federal Government’s vote of confidence in this project which demonstrates that clean energy solutions can provide the highest net benefit for consumers. This technology would be an Australian first, providing a reliable back-up supply for 17,000 people who live in Broken Hill and could see the mining city host one of the largest renewable mini-grids in the world.

“We will continue to support the nation’s efforts to accelerate the transition to renewable energy by seeking and implementing solutions which support Australia’s clean energy targets,” Ms Jordan said.

Broken Hill is currently supplied by one transmission line that runs 260km from Buronga, NSW near the Victorian border. Hydrostor’s Silver City Energy Storage Project would support electricity supply for the town and ongoing mining demand when the transmission line is temporarily out of service for activities like repairs and maintenance.

The Hydrostor solution has the potential to accommodate the increase in mining load planned in the area. The project would be able to store up to 1,600 megawatt hours of renewable generation which could be made available to meet peak demand, benefiting existing generator customers and electricity consumers.

“We are grateful for the financial support provided by ARENA and look forward to continue working with stakeholders including Transgrid to advance critical infrastructure that enables reliable and low impact electricity supply to Broken Hill,” said Curtis Van Walleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said technologies for medium duration storage will help to improve the economics of energy storage and help realise the goal of more commercially feasible projects.

“Hydrostor’s innovative solution provides us with another option to add to the mix. As a storage technology, A-CAES has similar applications to pumped hydro, such as providing dispatchability required to ensure reliability of the power system as more solar and wind power is installed,” he said.


Transgrid media contact:

Michelle Stone 0438 293 917