Kidston pumped hydro reaches financial close, given green light


Australia’s first pumped hydro energy storage system to be built in 37 years, Genex Power’s Kidston Clean Energy Hub, is set for construction with the reach of financial close on its Kidston Stage 2 project. To put that in context, 37 years ago it was 1984, Bob Hawke was Prime Minister, Elton John married Renate Blauel in Sydney, and Advance Australia Fair became the national anthem. 

The green light for the $777 million pumped hydro project (including transmission infrastructure), is a boon to Queensland’s (QLD) renewable energy ambitions. The 250 MW / 2,000 MWh (baseload) hub at the former 

Kidston Gold Mine will possess the equivalent of eight hours of energy storage and support the introduction of new renewable energy generation in the state. 

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is chipping in $47 million on top of the $9 million it has already spent on feasibility and development of the project, and $8.9 million for the original 50 MW Kidston Solar Project back in 2016. 

The large part of the financing comes from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), with $610 million, and as pv magazine has previously reported, EnergyAustralia will operate the envisaged 250 MW pumped storage asset for up to 30 years.  

The project requires a 187km transmission line to connect the North Queensland Hub to the NEM. The QLD government has committed to support this infrastructure. 

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the Kidston project “will supply dispatchable, renewable energy to the grid when and where it is needed and provide a blueprint for how we store excess solar and wind energy at scale.” 

Miller said the financial close on the project was a significant milestone and pointed to the significant role projects like Kidston have in progressing Australia’s energy transition. “Storage solutions such as pumped hydro and large scale batteries are a key part in providing back up power and grid stability as highlighted in the Australian Government’s first Low Emissions Technology Statement,” Miller said. 

The project is expected to be completed by 2024, generate 500 jobs in the meantime and 20 permanent positions.


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