Genex reaches underground milestone on pumped hydro project


Sydney-based developer Genex Power has confirmed that excavation of the main access tunnel at its Kidston Pumped Hydro Storage Project is complete, providing a permanent access point to the underground power station cavern which will house two 125 MW hydro reversible pump turbines.

Genex said the completion of the approximately 1.5-kilometre tunnel ensures access for the power station cavern lower bench excavation works and ultimate fit-out activities.

Genex Chief Executive Officer Craig Francis said the completion of the tunnel marks a major milestone for the project after it was forced to adjust the course of the tunnel following a drilling incident late last year that set construction back. The incident, in September, resulted in water unexpectedly leaking into the tunnel.

“We are extremely pleased with the way in which the Genex and EPC contractor teams responded to the water ingress event last year, completing the redesign and recommencing production with minimal delay,” Francis said.

“Importantly it moves us one step closer toward commencing the power station fit-out works ahead of energisation later in 2024.”

Being developed at the site of two abandoned gold mine pits near Kidston, about 270 kilometres northwest of Townsville in northern Queensland, the Kidston Pumped Hydro Storage Project involves the transfer of water between the two disused gold mine pits which are located at different elevations. Water stored in the upper reservoir will drop about 220 metres down two vertical inlet shafts through reversible turbine-generators – to be located approximately 250 metres below ground level – into the lower reservoir to generate electricity.

Once complete, the facility will have the potential to generate up to 250 MW of rapid response, flexible power to the National Electricity Market. It will have a start-up time of less than 30 seconds, allowing it to respond quickly to any shortages of electricity supply.

The facility will generate enough electricity to power more than 140,000 homes for eight hours.

Electricity provider EnergyAustralia will operate the pumped hydro storage asset for up to 30 years having finalised a binding energy storage services agreement.

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