An Australian National University paper on pumped hydro shows Tasmania will significantly play a part in progressing the nation towards an electricity grid almost entirely reliable on renewable energy.
The study by Professor Jamie Pittock, published in the Australian Environmental Review, looked at the series of pumped hydro storage projects proposed or being built in five states.
Pumped hydro works through the connection of two reservoirs which store power when it is excess to needs and feeds it into the grid at times of high demand.
Despite environmental benefits, Professor Pittock concluded there would be challenges in the development of pump hydro storages as people, particularly in rural areas, might not want to live near such industrial projects.
He said storages relied on high-elevation areas - a number of which could not be used as they existed in national parks or other protected areas.
Professor Pittock said the country would need at least 20 big pumped hydro storage facilities to back up the entire national electricity grid.
"It’s really a game changer," he said.
"It destroys any argument that solar and wind can’t provide the baseload power needed to keep the lights on in eastern Australia."
About 22,000 physically feasible sites for pumped storage hydropower in Australia have been identified based on geographical features.
Fourteen sites have been identified in Tasmania which, if feasible, would be about to generate up to 2500 megawatts of electricity.
This is more than the proposed extension of the Snowy River scheme which is estimated to generate 2000 megawatts of electricity.
Professor Pittock noted new pumped storage projects are under construction or consideration could add more than 6000 megawatts of capacity to the national electricity grid.
According to Hydro Tasmania's Battery of the Nation report, released last year, Tasmania's pumped hydro was more cost effective than the Snowy River scheme.
It found most proposed pumped hydro sites in Tasmania would cost between $1.05 million to $1.5 million per megawatt to build which was about half the cost of a Snowy River scheme extension.
If the Tasmanian developments are realised, it is estimated they will generate $5 billion of investment and about 3000 regional jobs over 10 to 15 years.