World-First Renewable Power Project Collaborates With Traditional Owners in Central Queensland

By August 19, 2022 5   min read  (966 words)

August 19, 2022 |

Fuel Cells Works, World-First Renewable Power Project Collaborates With Traditional Owners in Central Queensland

A cultural ceremony formalised a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Sunshine Hydro, Gidarjil Development Corporation and Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG, the region’s peak body for natural resource management) to help progress the recently launched Sunshine Hydro pumped hydro renewable energy project near Miriam Vale.

Sunshine Hydro joined with traditional owners for a Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony and launch of an Indigenous project name inspired by traditional language.

The ceremony, representing the cultures of the Gurang and Gooreng Gooreng peoples was led by local traditional owner leader, Dr Kerry Blackman, Managing Director, Gidarjil Development Corporation.

Dr Blackman explained the project’s Indigenous name, Djandori gung-i means ‘spirit in the water’ symbolises traditional links to the area, while referencing the dynamic use of water within the pumped hydro renewable energy system.

Dr Blackman said, ‘It was powerful to be on country to explain the rich cultural heritage of these lands, while being respectfully and meaningfully engaged in their future.”

“The MoU outlines the deep partnership and commitment among parties to optimise environmental, social, and economic benefits, including local employment and further recognition of our cultural values”.

Sunshine Hydro’s Chairman Michael Myer, said, “the MoU demonstrates a mutually respectful partnership between traditional owners and BMRG, the region’s peak body for natural resource management, to genuinely meet the challenges of climate change through reliable renewable energy to decarbonise industry”.

“Sunshine Hydro is committed to demonstrating how the renewables industry and traditional owners can work together on innovating power generation in Australia and beyond, while respecting and protecting the natural environment,” he said.

BMRG CEO, Sheila Charlesworth added, “as the region’s peak body for natural resource management we are proud to be closely involved and directly contributing to an innovative, nationally important renewable

energy project. An added benefit for the community and environment from this project will be the availability of a permanent water resource to respond to future bushfire threats”.

Simon Currie, Co-Founder, Energy Estate, who are partnering with Sunshine Hydro said, “The future of energy is creating clean ecosystems, linking the inputs of wind farms, solar farms, and pumped hydro projects. We can achieve better, enduring outcomes when we use systems thinking to integrate projects to deliver multiple energy products and services. Through Sunshine Hydro this project is already demonstrating the benefit of strong partnerships and integration across the renewable energy sector”.

Mr Myer, added, “this pumped hydro project will showcase the emergence of new jobs in the ‘green economy’ as we decarbonise, creating local jobs during the construction and operational phases.”

“We are also opening the project for early community review and comment through our local engagement program. We have held information sessions in Miriam Vale and will continue to maintain local engagement, and our team can be contacted at: [email protected] or visit

“We value the communities in which we are fortunate enough to work, and there is a real opportunity here to advance the region, state and Australia, as international leaders in the application of pumped hydro renewable energy,” he said.

About the project

The project plans to deliver sustainable and reliable (firm) renewable energy by using a closed loop ‘pumped hydro’ system to generate net renewable energy. Using renewable energy, water is pumped to the higher storage and then released to flow under gravity through turbines to generate electricity. This energy can be sent to the grid or power the production of green hydrogen or other forms of energy.

How it works: The water is collected in the lower reservoir, ready to pump to the higher reservoir. When the upper storage is full, and there is demand for electricity, the water is released from the upper storage to the lower storage through hydroelectricity turbines. This water is this re-pumped to the upper storage, ready to repeat the process. This is the green closed loop hydropower system in action. This is ‘firm energy’ as energy can be produced during any weather. See images attached.

The project is located near Miriam Vale within the Central Queensland Renewable Energy Zone. The project launch and MoU follows years of investment, R&D, and site appraisal to progress this inaugural Superhybrid project.

Through Central Queensland University, Sunshine Hydro is also giving two PhD candidates a chance to undertake applied research into pumped hydro and green hydrogen production, through funded scholarships. This to help ensure Queensland and the Gladstone region is at the forefront of world knowledge and applications within the renewable energy sector.

About Sunshine Hydro:

Queensland based Sunshine Hydro is an innovator in renewable energy with an ethos to decarbonise our society and industry in response to the challenges of climate change. The technology behind Sunshine Hydro, AESOP, enables new and existing pumped hydro and other deep energy storage projects to maximise decarbonisation and to replace fossil fuel generation plants effectively and efficiently. Sunshine Hydro has initiated a new pumped hydro project in Central Queensland following years of research, R&D and site analysis. Visit:

About Energy Estate

Energy Estate is a developer, accelerator and adviser. Its portfolio of projects is diversified and includes over 30GW of onshore and offshore wind, solar, long-duration energy storage and transmission

projects. It is also developing large scale green hydrogen, green ammonia and green chemical projects in Australia and the US. A key driver for Energy Estate is to support and assist to transition the communities in which it operates and deliver enduring outcomes for traditional owners and all stakeholders. . Energy Estate believes in the reindustrialisation of industrial communities with low-carbon solutions and are developing projects in industrial regions like the Hunter Valley, Gladstone and Abbot Point. Visit:

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