DUNGOWAN Dam could become part of a renewable energy project which would produce twice as much energy as the Liddell power station.
A three-party consortium has approached Tamworth Regional Council, the owner of the dam, to explore the possibility of a pumped hydro scheme as part of the Walcha Energy Project.
Council water director Bruce Logan couldn’t reveal many details of the hydro project, but it’s hoped it would reignite interest in upgrading the 16.4 megalitre dam.
An upgrade or expansion for Dungowan appeared to be dead in the water after a state government feasibility study estimated it would cost up to $480 million.
“The Walcha plateau is a good area for wind and solar generation and [the consortium] feel there may be some synergies between that and a pumped hydro scheme,” Mr Logan said.
“One of the things they will look at is the sizes of the storage required and how much that might cost.
“It might mean if the project did get off the ground, we might have some more water available for the Tamworth community.”
Mr Logan said council would be “very keen” to see renewable energy projects in the region.
But he also said the city’s water security beyond 2040 remained under a cloud.
“Council still has the issue of where we are going to get our water from post-2040 and how we’re going to improve our reliability of supply in Tamworth post-2040,” he said.
“Dungowan was one of the options and we’re presently talking the government about investigating other options that might be available.
If the Walcha project goes ahead, Mr Logan said it could produce 4000 megawatts of power.
Earlier this month, Energy Estate and MirusWind announced a partnership to develop the Walcha Energy Project, which has the potential to generate 15 per cent of NSW’s electricity.
If the development is approved, the proponents aim to start construction in 2020 and supply in 2022.
The project’s website said the scheme would provide “long-term, enduring and resilient renewable energy solutions”.
“New energy capacity will be required due to the Liddell Power Station closing in 2022 and the anticipated retirement of Bayswater,” the website said.