Potential for Energy Generation using Pumped Storage Hydropower in the Toowoomba Water Supply

Stahlhut, Madison (2018) Potential for Energy Generation using Pumped Storage Hydropower in the Toowoomba Water Supply. [USQ Project]


Pumped storage hydropower is a form of hydroelectricity, in which water is stored as potential energy in an upper reservoir. During peak energy demand periods, the water is released to a lower reservoir via a turbine, and then pumped back when demand is reduced for the process to be repeated. Pumped storage hydropower is primarily used during peak energy demand periods to supplement the electricity grid as it can generate electricity instantaneously (Mays 2011).

The Toowoomba region provides a possible location for a pumped storage hydropower system to be implemented due to the locality of two of the water supply dams; Perseverance Dam and Cressbrook Dam. The feasibility of implementing a pumped storage hydropower scheme based on power generation potential and economic factors such as capital cost and revenue was determined. In order to determine the feasibility, three configurations were developed and optimised to provide high electricity output for low cost, based on power generation potential parameters. The three configurations developed were: • Configuration 1: a pipeline directly connecting Cressbrook Dam and Perseverance Dam and had two variations; the first being an above ground pipeline which would require initial pumping to a peak, and the second was an underground pipeline; • Configuration 2: utilised an existing water main pipeline from Mt Jockey to Cressbrook Dam, and would require the construction of an upper reservoir at Mt Jockey, and also considered the existing capacity in the water main; and • Configuration 3: would require the construction of an underground pipeline and upper reservoir to the north-east of Perseverance Dam, with Perseverance Dam acting as the lower reservoir.

The results indicated that configuration 1(a) was not viable, as a loss was generated each year due to the pumping required in the generation phase. Configuration 1(b) and 3 were found to be viable in terms of power generation potential, however they had high capital costs, compared to the revenue which could be generated per year. Configuration 2 was found to be the most feasible of all the configurations as it had a significantly lower capital cost, which was also proportionate to the revenue which could be generated each year, even though the power generation potential was significantly lower to the other configurations.

The optimised configurations suggest that small scale pumped storage hydropower is feasible in the Toowoomba Region, however high capital cost is required. Furthermore, the results indicate that there are multiple configuration options which significantly contrast in capital cost and revenue, warranting further investigation.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Civil) & Bachelor Business and Commerce (Management & Leadership)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Baillie, Justine
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2022 04:13
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2022 04:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: energy; hydropower; Toowoomba; water supply
URI: https://sear.unisq.edu.au/id/eprint/40759

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