GE Renewable Energy and BE Power have partnered to co-develop the 400 MW Big-T pumped hydro storage project in Toowoomba in Queensland, Australia. As per the agreement, the two parties along with their partners will optimize and finalize the design of the plant and help the project secure financing to reach commercial operations. The project is also expected to facilitate the development of new wind and solar projects by providing firming and grid support services in the National Electricity Market. The project is expected to feed the energy demands of 200,000 households in Queensland. When operational, the project will provide long-duration, high-capacity storage to absorb excess wind and solar output.
The Big T is the first pumped hydropower project in Queensland in 35 years and is an important step in the Australian state’s path to meeting 50 per cent of its energy need through renewables by 2030. Pumped hydro projects represent a cost-effective and long-lasting solution for the high capacity, long-duration storage that is needed to balance out variable renewable energy.
GE Renewable Energy, the green energy arm of General Electric, is a renewable energy developer with a portfolio that includes wind, hydroelectric and solar power. 30 per cent of the world’s pumped hydro storage plants equipped with GE’s technologies. Further, almost 50 per cent of Australia’s hydropower capacity is powered by GE manufactured turbines, generators, or both. In August 2020, GE Renewable Energy signed an agreement with Walcha Energy for the development of a 500 MW pumped storage project in Australia.