Pioneer Valley, Queensland.

The Queensland Government has awarded a major contract on the Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro energy storage project to a local family business from the Mackay region. 

Twin Hills Engineering and Drilling was announced as the successful tender for the six-month geotechnical shallow drilling program, which will be used to inform the project design and will be a fundamental part of the development of this nation-building project.

Supporting more than 3,000 jobs during the peak of construction, the proposed scheme is expected to provide the world’s biggest pumped hydro energy storage with 5GW of clean, reliable, and affordable power supply and storage to Queenslanders over a 24-hour period.

Pumped Hydro Energy Storage is a proven technology that is a foundational investment in Queensland’s SuperGrid to provide 24/7 clean and reliable power.

The Pioneer-Burdekin project is proposed to generate 5000MW for 24 hours, equivalent to around half of the entire state’s peak usage.

Pumped hydro acts like a giant water battery:

  • It uses electricity from the grid or nearby renewables to pump water from a lower reservoir into an upper reservoir when energy prices are low
  • When energy is needed, water is released from the upper reservoir into the lower reservoir, generating energy as it passes through a turbine
  • Hydroelectricity can be generated almost immediately and at any time, so power can be fed into the grid when it is needed

A Queensland-based joint venture with a strong presence in Mackay, Water2Wire was also announced as the successful proponent for the project’s Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED), as part of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan.

Member for Mackay, Julieanne Gilbert, said this is an exciting major project for the region that will mean business opportunities for local companies and thousands of jobs for locals – whether it’s electricians and technicians, suppliers of building materials, or drillers and engineers like these two contracts.

“Pumped hydro energy storage and clean energy will provide another lane on Mackay’s industrial superhighway with thousands of locals just like Stephen and Sharon who stand to benefit from it,” Ms Gilbert said.

Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said the Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project is the cornerstone of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, and will be the largest pumped hydro scheme in the world.

“This mega pumped hydro project will act like a giant battery, and when connected to our Queensland SuperGrid, will underpin the reliability of our publicly owned grid by storing the energy generated by our renewable energy zones.

“The project is poised to offer hundreds of supply chain opportunities, and with application of the Palaszczuk Governments’ signature Buy Queensland Procurement Policy, local businesses like Twin Hills and Water2Wire will be the preferred project partners.

“It’s regions like Mackay that are at the centre of Queensland’s renewable energy transformation – which will unleash new industrial jobs in hydrogen, renewables, manufacturing, and critical minerals,” Mr de Brenni said

Queensland Hydro CEO, Kieran Cusack, said with Water2Wire’s recent work on high-profile projects like Borumba and Kidston and their collective expertise in delivering pumped hydro projects around the world they will be a great asset to this project. 

“We are looking forward to working with them on this world-class project,” Mr Cusack said. 

“We’re also delighted to be working with a local family business employing local workers that has been awarded the first geotech drilling contract for Queensland Hydro’s Pioneer-Burdekin project.”

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