New Zealand to establish 8.5 TWh pumped hydro project

The New Zealand government has announced and confirmed that it will create a detailed business case for a pumped hydro scheme at Lake Onslow as part of its efforts to build a resilient, affordable, secure, and decarbonized energy system. The government of New Zealand will look into the feasibility of establishing a pumped hydroelectric facility on the South Island.

The project could provide up to 8.5 TWh of annual generation and storage capacity, assisting the country’s transition to 100 per cent renewable energy generation. First-phase investigations revealed that the project would take seven to nine years to complete.

According to energy minister of the country, Megan Woods, Lake Onslow facility is central to the New Zealand Battery Project which was established to investigate how to best solve the dry year problem when low rainfall limits existing hydro-electricity supply without using fossil fuels.

In November 2022, BlueFloat Energy, Energy Estate, and Elemental Group announced a ‘multi-billion-dollar’ investment proposal for offshore wind projects in New Zealand. The projects, spread out between South Auckland and West Waikato, will be the consortium’s second investment as part of a national initiative to build up to 5 GW of offshore wind capacity. The Waikato Offshore Wind Project will use both fixed and floating foundation technology and have a 1.4 GW capacity. It will be constructed in two stages and, if operational, will be able to supply energy to close to 700,000 homes.