Around 2000 regional construction contracts have come a step closer, as the state government has announced 22 million US dollars for detailed planning and cost analyzes for pumped hydropower plants at the Borumba Dam.

Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the project has the potential to become the largest pumped hydropower plant in the state, supplying electricity to an estimated 1.5 million households.

“We are prioritizing Borumba based on its existing dam infrastructure, land access and location within the Southern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone.

“Supporting investments in renewable energy is part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery from the global coronavirus pandemic.

Treasurer Cameron Dick said the business case would include detailed engineering and design, hydrological modeling, geological testing, an environmental impact assessment and community consultation.

“We are investing $ 22 million to potentially develop a multi-billion dollar construction project that would invest billions more in clean energy and support thousands of jobs,” said the treasurer.

“This is an investment in jobs and renewable energy that can be used at any time of the day to feed Queensland consumers and Queensland industries.”

Energy, Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Minister Mick de Brenni said at one gigawatt, Borumba would double generation and triple storage from Wivenhoe.

“The benefits of pumped hydropower as part of our diversified energy mix were demonstrated last month when the Callide power plant went offline,” said the minister.

“We were able to start up the Wivenhoe hydropower plant to support critical generation and stabilize the grid.

“Pumped water storage tanks are flexible, reliable and complement renewable energy generation such as sun and wind.

“That’s why Queensland needs more of it if we achieve 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.

“The Borumba Dam is already a hub of activity with water skiing, camping, barbecues and lakeside picnics, and this potential expansion will grow.”

Mr de Brenni said if Borumba moves forward the Commonwealth should contribute to the cost of capital.

“Every other state has energy projects built by the Commonwealth – Queenslanders deserve their share.”

The state-owned electricity transmission company Powerlink was commissioned to carry out the business case based on its understanding of the electricity market and its experience in providing very large infrastructure.

The business case is expected to take up to 24 months, with filing with the government by mid to late 2023.

Powerlink will be doing initial work in the coming months by working with a number of stakeholders including Seqwater, the Department of Environment and Science, local governments, local communities, environmental groups and traditional owners.

Protection of national parks and protected areas is a priority and Powerlink will actively work with First Nations and conservation groups to investigate all options and ensure that appropriate environmental offsets are identified.

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