Australia’s first Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) project is being developed by Hydrostor Australia within Terramin’s Angas Zinc Mine at Strathalbyn, to deliver cheaper, cleaner and more reliable electricity to South Australian consumers.

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(L-R) Dan van Holst Pellekaan, State Minister for Energy and Mining, Simon Birmingham, Senator for SA, Federal Minister for Trade Tourism & Investment, Curt VanWalleghem, CEO of Hydrostor, Matt Walden, Investment Director for ARENA, Adrian Pederick, Member for Hammond

Hydrostor announced it had been awarded AU$6 million from the Commonwealth Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and AU$3 million from the South Australian Government to build the project at the mine site, 50 kilometres from Adelaide, which is currently in care and maintenance.

The Angas A-CAES Project will deliver emission-free energy storage, providing synchronous inertia, load shifting, frequency regulation, and support for grid security and reliability, benefiting South Australians.

Terramin Australia CEO Richard Taylor beliefs this to be a unique opportunity for the co-operative use of underground facilities to enable an energy storage project, and is a clear example that mine owners could follow around Australia and globally.

“It makes good sense. We have prior mining assets and current processing facilities that are fully equipped with large power connections, excellent environmental management on a site that is being supported by a local community engagement group,” Mr Taylor said.

“New and emerging businesses like Hydrostor are welcome at our facility. Both state and federal government agencies and ministers have recognised the symbiotic values of matching mining and processing sites with energy production or storage,” continued Mr Taylor.

South Australia Energy and Mining Minister, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said “Hydrostor Australia’s commitment in Strathalbyn is further evidence that the SA Government’s energy policies are attracting investment and jobs to the state. Hydrostor’s interest in establishing this Australian-first project at the Angas mine site highlights the State and Federal Governments’ commitment to make our renewable energy deliver more for consumers.”

CEO Richard Taylor added that this beneficial use of the previous underground workings fits with the government approved AZM Closure Plan that was achieved by the company over several years in close consultation with the Strathalbyn Community Consultation Committee. The AZM Closure Plan was the first in SA to be approved under the new 2011 Mining Regulations.

The technology works by using electricity from the grid to run a compressor, producing heated compressed air. Heat is extracted from the air stream and stored inside a proprietary thermal store preserving the energy for use later in the cycle. Compressed air is then stored in a purpose-built underground cavern, which is kept at a constant pressure using hydrostatic head from a water column. During charging, compressed air displaces water out of the cavern up a water column to a surface reservoir, and during discharge water flows back into the cavern forcing air to the surface under pressure where it is re-heated using the stored heat and then expanded through a turbine to generate electricity on demand.


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