Government pumps $147 million into Kidston hydro project


The state government funding package will be used to build a new 275 kV single circuit transmission line connecting Genex’s proposed 250 MW/2.5 GWh pumped hydro storage project with the National Electricity Market (NEM), helping to facilitate the creation of a new Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) in north Queensland.

Genex, which has been operating Kidston’s 50 MW solar stage 1 project since 2017, is developing the pumped hydro storage project at the site of two abandoned gold mines near Kidston, about 270km north-west of Townsville. The project is part of a proposed clean energy hub comprising the pumped storage hydro and up to 270 MW of additional solar and up to 150 MW of wind.

Genex CEO James Harding said the new 185.9km transmission line from Kidston to Mt Fox will not only enable the connection of the pumped hydro storage project to the NEM, but with significant spare capacity will unlock the additional stages for the clean energy hub and deliver critical system stability to the grid.

The transmission line will link the proposed clean energy hub with the main grid.

Image: Genex

“The transmission line will support not only our flagship Kidston pumped storage hydro project, but the broader Kidston Clean Energy Hub including the Kidston stage 3 wind project and the Kidston stage 2 solar project, with the creation of a new North Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (REZ),” he said.

“This funding is a crucial piece for the overall project financing for the project, which is rapidly advancing toward financial close.”

The funding announcement signals a $15 million increase on the State Government’s original commitment to the project. In 2019 the Government allocated $132 million for the construction of the transmission line and the installation of a new substation at Mt Fox, which will be built, owned and operated by government-owned operator Powerlink.

“Genex is delighted to receive confirmation of the Queensland Government’s $147 million funding package for this critical transmission infrastructure,” Harding said.

“We will continue to update the market as we move through the final approvals and documentation in the coming weeks.”

Harding said the construction of the transmission line and substation, together with the pumped hydro project, will deliver more than 500 new jobs.

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