Genex gets regulatory nod for Kidston pumped hydro

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The Kidston facility, Australia’s first large-scale project to use pumped hydro to store solar generated power, has been given a green light for the development of its storage component.

In a statement to the ASX, Genex Power said it received development approval from the Etheridge Shire Council in respect of its 250 MW Pumped Storage Hydro Project, which remains on on track to commence construction in 2019.

“The DA (development approval) is one of the last remaining milestones in the K2-Hydro permitting process which is required prior to financial close and then construction,” said Genex CEO James Harding in a statement on Friday.

The Kidston project, which will be located at a remote site that was once Australia’s largest gold mine, will use the existing pits at the location to provide around eight hours of storage for solar generated power.   

Overall, the Kidston energy hub is comprised of the operating 50 MW Stage 1 solar project, the Stage 2 projects – the 250 MW pumped storage hydro project and the multi-staged integrated solar project of up to 270 MW under development and Stage 3 – the Kidston Wind Project of up to 150 MW if proven feasible.

After the Stage 1 solar farm was switched on late last year, the Kidston renewable energy received a development approval for 270 MW of solar in April.

In terms of financing, the Kidston project received $8.9 million in funding from the Federal Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for the construction of the Stage 1 solar project, and up to $9 million in funding to support the development of Stage 2 Solar and Stage 2 Hydro.

In addition, it landed more than half a billion dollars in concessional finance from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility for the second stage projects in June.

In September, Genex Power announced the acquisition of the 50 MW Jemelong solar project in New South Wales.

On the occasion, Harding commented: “The Kidston Stage Two Pumped Storage Hydro and Solar Project remains the principal focus of the company, and we continue to make significant progress towards finalizing the remaining components necessary to achieve financial close“.