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Great Southern region to be home to world-leading mini-pumped hydro system

More reliable power is coming to Walpole with some world leading technology and a mini-pumped hydro microgrid.

To make our grid more sustainable and reliable, we’re introducing new technologies – both large and small – to create new and innovative solutions on the grid.

Walpole will soon to be home to world-leading energy technology – a microgrid powered by mini-pumped hydro, that will improve power reliability in the area by as much as 80%.

The Walpole mini-pumped hydro project

Western Power is partnering with WA engineering firm Power Research and Development (PRD) to develop a mini-pumped hydro facility in Walpole and connect it to the SWIS network.

Two dams are being built on a farming property near Walpole, one high and one low, to transfer and store the water. Solar panels and batteries will power the pumping action and shift the water, making it self-sufficient.

walpole pumped hydro project

The Walpole mini-pumped hydro system will be connected to the SWIS network and work as part of a microgrid, providing power to just over 500 local customers. If there is a disruption on the network, the microgrid can work independently, providing power to the local residents and businesses.

It will be able to provide enough power to supply Walpole for up to two days, much longer than a typical battery solution.

It is also sufficiently sized to support future power needs in Walpole, for example, charging EV’s and smoothing the ebbs and flows of local renewables on the network.

Construction is currently underway, with the Walpole mini-pumped hydro microgrid expected to fully operational by the end of 2023. Find out more about the project in the video below. Download the project brochure here.

Connected customers

The map below shows customers to be connected to the Walpole mini-pumped hydro microgrid.

Pumped hydro infographic


Date Milestone Status
August 2022 Site preparation Complete
November 2022 Work commences with lower dam earthworks Commenced
September 2022 Western Power distribution work commences Complete
December 2022 Western Power distribution work to be completed Complete
Mid 2023 Lower dam earthworks to be completed On track, finishing works in progress
Mid 2023 Install pump, inverter and transformers On track
November 2023 Upper dam earthworks to be completed On track, due to be complete in October / November
Mid 2023 Penstock pipe to be installed between upper and lower dam On track
Late 2024 Generator energisation and testing (for on grid commissioning)  
Late 2024 Commissioning complete and generator in full operation