North Queensland’s $777 million pumped hydro energy project has reached a milestone with construction commencing on Wises Dam.

Speaking from the Kidston Clean Energy Hub’s construction site, Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said the project is expected to create 900 jobs, and 120 workers had begun building Wises Dam, a critical element of the project.

“Wises Dam, the project’s upper reservoir, will be able to deliver up to 4.5GL of water to spin the project’s two125MW turbines for up to eight hours,” Mr de Brenni said.

“More clean, renewable energy means lower emissions as well as cheaper power for Queensland households, businesses and industry.

“And that’s why the Queensland Government committed $147 million towards essential transmission infrastructure built by publicly-owned Powerlink to link Kidston to the east coast energy grid.”

Mr de Brenni said the project was delivering jobs ahead of power with 120 workers on site, a further 100 workers mobilising before June, reaching a peak of 430 persons on site by the middle of 2023.

Genex and its partners are converting the former Kidston Gold Mine into a clean energy hub which will combine wind, solar and pumped hydro storage and make a major contribution toward the Queensland Government’s target to achieve 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Queensland Resources Minister and Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart, said Wises Dam construction marked a significant step in the world-first integrated solar and pumped-hydro storage project.

“This is not only a world-first integrated solar and hydro project, but also sets a global example for effective transformation of legacy mining sites,” Mr Stewart said.

“This project will not only power homes and jobs, it will also help pave the way for more mining rehabilitation success stories across Queensland, as we work to breathe new life into old sites.

“I thank Genex for its commitment in delivering jobs, renewable power and mine rehabilitation – especially for North Queensland.”

Genex Power Chief Executive Officer, James Harding, said the project is the company’s flagship project and the first of its kind to be developed in Australia in more than 40 years.

“This is essentially a giant water battery which will provide 250MW of electricity generation for up to eight hours, sufficient to satisfy Townsville’s peak power demand,” Mr Harding said.

“We are now one year into the project delivery phase, and with site establishment complete and construction activities in full swing we are on track to commence generation before the end of 2024.

“Commencement of Wises Dam construction this month marks a significant milestone for the project as this is the largest piece of surface construction work.

“Once completed, these works will comprise the upper reservoir for the pumped hydro system, delivering 4.5GL of water to the turbines and I would like to acknowledge the Queensland Government for their long-standing commitment and significant funding support for the Project.”

The Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project and its associated transmission infrastructure is expected to be completed and feeding into the National Electricity Market by early 2025.

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