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Timothy Weber 

Research Officer 

Australian National University 



Timothy Weber is a Research Officer with the Australian National University’s 100% Renewable Energy Group.

He has experience modelling 100% renewable energy systems, developing the Global Pumped Hydro Energy Storage Atlases, and exploring the potential for pumped hydro energy storage in Southeast Asia.


His research interests relate to feasible pathways for decarbonising the energy system and the role that electricity markets have in efficiently integrating energy storage systems into the grid.


He has a background working on the Australian Government’s Large-scale Renewable Energy Target operations.”

Presentation Abstract

A Global atlas of pumped hydro systems that repurpose existing mine sites 

Mining operations often have existing infrastructure, such as roads and water access, which can facilitate the construction and operation of Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) systems.


These sites usually require minimal additional vegetation clearing, as the land has already been cleared for mining activities. During the end stages of mining, sites can be shaped to form pumped hydro reservoirs at a low cost.

The use of former mining sites for PHES systems reduces the likelihood of impacting culturally or environmentally significant land. However, new reservoirs might be needed at different altitudes, potentially facing restrictions due to competing interests.


Prior to this research, there was no global database of potential PHES sites repurposing mining pits. The research includes an algorithm to screen for suitable mining site reservoirs and a summary of the Global Brownfield Pumped Hydro Energy Storage Atlas, which details the results and considerations for developing PHES systems on mining sites. 

Abstract by Timothy Weber, Ryan Stocks, Andrew Blakers, Anna Nadolny, Cheng Cheng

Large amounts of energy storage are required to support high levels of solar and wind power.

Pumped hydro energy storage comprises the majority of global energy storage for the electricity industry.


A previous study identified 616,000 potential “Greenfield” closed-loop (off-river) pumped hydro sites around the world with combined storage of 23,000 Terawatt-hours (TWh).

In this study, we identify 904 sites in mining areas (“Brownfield”) with combined potential storage of 30 TWh. A high spatial resolution global atlas of Brownfield closed-loop pumped hydro energy storage systems is available online. It was developed through Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis of a digital terrain model.

The GIS algorithm identified mining pits, pit lakes, and tailings ponds within mining sites and located nearby reservoirs that could form a suitable pair.

All Brownfield pumped hydro sites were assigned a cost class of A to E to allow comparison between sites on the global atlas. There are far fewer Brownfield than Greenfield options, with 77 countries found to contain eligible locations.

Despite the smaller number of eligible locations, Brownfield sites typically have other advantages including existing transmission infrastructure, water pumping infrastructure, road access, social licence and reduced environmental impact for development on disturbed land.

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