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Toowoomba Regional Council has endorsed BE Power to advance to the next stage of the New Energy Generation project tender process, with its proposal to develop a pumped hydro energy storage facility at Lake Cressbrook.

Council approved the step at its September Ordinary Meeting.

Toowoomba Regional Mayor, Paul Antonio, said he was pleased with how the tender process was progressing.

Mr Antonio said the approval allowed Council to continue taking steps towards using its existing land and water assets to generate energy.

“Pumped hydro energy storage works like a giant battery, storing energy for use at peak times,” Mr Antonio said.

“Council is interested in exploring opportunities that BE Power’s project might offer both Council and the broader Toowoomba Region.

“Pumped hydro could deliver important benefits to our region through the enabling of other renewable energy solutions and will play an important role in supporting opportunities for the community to transition towards renewable energy.

“If the project proceeds to delivery, Council will provide access to land and water assets, and BE Power will develop the project, including providing necessary infrastructure.

“Council has a responsibility to provide long-term environmental, economic development and financial benefits to our communities.”

Mr Antonio said as part of its approval the Council had requested BE Power to demonstrate alignment with Council requirements around water security, community and stakeholders, plus regulatory approvals.

“Water is one of our most precious resources and the proposed project must not adversely affect Council’s water security,” Mr Antonio said.

“BE Power must also provide a Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Plan before starting community consultation and project approvals must progress through the relevant regulatory bodies.”

BE Power Managing Director, Scott Walkem, said the firm and its co-development partner GE Renewable Energy were pleased with the collaboration with Council as they progressed work to meet their objectives for one of the key energy-stabilising projects on Australia’s east coast.

“In an increasingly dynamic power system, long duration storage (such as pumped hydro) is vital,” Mr Walkem said.

“Not only does it help match wind and solar output with actual consumer demand, but it also provides many different grid services required to keep the system stable.

“With significant investment in renewable wind and solar forecast for the Queensland Southern Renewable Energy Zone (QREZ), this project is strategically placed to help unlock the Southern QREZ and ensure it delivers power, jobs and social and economic benefits, not just for locals, but for all Queenslanders.

“Having now secured the private land required to deliver the project, we look forward to our continued engagement with the TRC, the State of Queensland, and the Federal Government’s Underwriting New Generation (UNGI) team as we work together to deliver the project.”

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