Borumba Dam Pumped Hydro: detailed design and cost analysis
The Queensland Government is investing $22 million to investigate the potential pumped hydro energy storage facility at Borumba Dam, located near Imbil, 45 minutes south west of Gympie.
While Borumba Dam has been identified as a potential site for pumped hydro, further studies are required to progress the project.
The Queensland Government has selected Powerlink to manage the next phase of work on Borumba and to complete the further studies.
Powerlink is well placed as implementation partner due to their understanding of Queensland’s electricity system and market, and their experience with developing large infrastructure projects.
For more information visit the Powerlink website.
What is pumped hydro?
Pumped hydro is a tried and tested technology, accounting for about 97% of energy storage world-wide. It can store a large amount of energy for long periods of time, making it the perfect back-up for other renewable energy sources like solar and wind.
Pumped hydro energy storage is a closed water system that moves water between two large reservoirs constructed at different heights to generate and store potential energy.
To operate, a pumped hydro generator uses electricity from the grid or nearby renewables to pump water from the lower reservoir into the upper reservoir when energy prices are low. When energy is needed, water is then released from an upper reservoir back into the lower reservoir, passing through a turbine.
Importance of pumped hydro in Queensland
As the world transforms its energy use, Queensland has the potential to become a renewables and hydrogen superpower, creating new jobs in the growing clean energy economy. Effective management and planning for this transformation is critical to ensure a secure and reliable energy future for Queenslanders.
Secure, reliable and affordable energy is vital to Queensland communities and businesses. It underpins our economy and quality of life, with exciting new technologies paving the way for a sustainable future, creating more jobs in more industries.
The Australian Energy Market Operator has identified that Queensland will need significant energy storage as part of a diverse future energy system. Clean energy storage, including pumped hydro and large-scale batteries, will be crucial in securing Queensland’s energy system in the long-term.
With established renewables and emissions targets, Queensland has a unique opportunity to plan for a modern, high-renewables grid. Bringing forward the development of new large-scale pumped storage capacity is a key element of this approach to ensure cheaper, cleaner renewable energy for Queenslanders.
Borumba Dam has been selected as the first site for a detailed design and cost analysis following a state-wide assessment of potential pumped hydro locations through the Queensland Hydro Study.
Borumba Dam was identified due to its proximity to the high-voltage transmission network, existing dam infrastructure, and location to the Southern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (QREZ).
The Queensland Government has also previously identified the site as a possible location for a pumped hydro facility and Powerlink has owned the site since the 1980s.
The Queensland Government is committed to engaging early and often with the community and key stakeholders to ensure we deliver not only the best outcomes for Queensland, but also the local community. The Queensland Government will actively work with First Nations and Conservation Groups as well as the broader community to ensure the appropriate protection of national parks, biodiversity and water quality and availability occurs.
Assessment of environmental impacts will be undertaken as part of the analysis and stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide input into relevant studies within the detailed design and cost analysis. Residents and community groups can also provide feedback and input into what may also become a larger recreational and tourism hub for the Gympie region.
Potential environmental impacts will be taken into consideration when the Queensland Government determines if the Borumba project should move ahead.
To learn more about community engagement activities and how you can get involved, visit the Powerlink website.
For enquiries about the Borumba detailed design and cost analysis, contact Powerlink on:
- 1800 635 369
Or contact the Queensland Government on 13 QGOV (13 74 68).
Learn more about:
- Borumba Dam Pumped Hydro (PDF, 2211 KB)
- Queensland Hydro Study: establishing our potential (PDF, 1884.4 KB)
- Pumped hydro in our energy system (PDF, 2702.62 KB)
- Last updated:
- 24 November 2021