ARENA has commissioned a study of pumped hydro potential in regional NSW.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing $951,000 to Oven Mountain Pumped Storage Pty Ltd in partnership with Alinta Energy to undertake a study on pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) at Oven Mountain, near Armidale and Kempsey in Northern New South Wales.

The $2.2 million study will determine how the proposed 600 MW / 7,200 MWh pumped hydro facility at Oven Mountain could support system strength in Queensland and northern New South Wales by storing and enabling renewable energy generation.

The study will examine if the proposed PHES project would unlock further energy investment in the New England region.

Early estimates suggest the project could generate up to 1,000 jobs during construction and around 30 ongoing jobs once the plant is completed and commissioned.

As part of the NSW Transmission Infrastructure Strategy, the NSW Government will prioritise the New England region as one of three renewable energy zones.

Renewable Energy Zones are areas with high energy potential where planned transmission infrastructure upgrades are able to connect multiple projects at lower cost.

Separate to this project, the Government has shortlisted six pumped hydro projects through the Underwriting New Generation Investments program.