Genex Power’s Kidston Renewable Energy Hub has been fast tracked with the $330 million Kidston Pumped Hydro Storage project (K2H) declared a coordinated project.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick, said the project, located at the decommissioned Kidston Gold Mine within Etheridge Shire, proposes an innovative use of two existing adjacent water-filled mine pits to generate hydroelectricity.
“If approved, the project could employ 370 people during the two-year construction and have a minimum lifespan of 50 years,” Mr Dick said.
“When complete, Stages 1 and 2 of the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub will provide enough energy to power around 160,000 Australian homes – enough power for a city bigger than Cairns.
“Stage 1 alone will produce enough power to supply more than 26,000 Australian homes, offsetting 120,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and remove 33,000 cars off Australian roads.
“Genex has set a strong mandate to provide local residents with job opportunities, whether that be direct on-site employment, consultancy or indirect contract work.
“This renewable energy project has the ability to revitalise the local economy and I commend Genex on making sure locals benefit from the project.
“Last week, Genex was given development approval by Etheridge Shire Council and this declaration is the final push through the fast lane to get this important job creating project up and running.”
Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Anthony Lynham, said the project could act as a large-scale battery storage, allowing solar energy from the adjoining solar project to be stored and harnessed as peak-load power on demand.
“The project complements the Palaszczuk Government’s target of generating 50 per cent of Queensland’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030 and is part of state’s $5 billion pipeline of financially committed or underway renewable energy projects,” Dr Lynham said.
“The addition of hydroelectric generation in Far North Queensland will add stability to the network in the region, reducing the necessity for importing excess electricity from neighbouring areas and providing a benefit to the entire network.”
The Kidston Renewable Energy Hub comprises:
Stage 1 solar power project (50MW) which has been constructed
Stage 2 proposed new solar project (270MW) to integrate with the K2H project (250MW) currently undergoing assessment
Stage 3 wind farm project (150MW) which is in the feasibility stage
Energy generated by Stage 2 (combined solar and hydro) will be via a new transmission line connecting the Kidston site to Mount Fox, near Ingham.
CEO of Genex, James Harding, said he welcomed the coordinated project declaration.
“This declaration is recognition of the significant positive benefits that the project will have to the region and state,” Mr Harding said.
“Coming on the heels of the development approval announced last week, it provides further support from the Office of the Coordinator General as we finalise outstanding environmental approvals ahead of closing the financing and commencing construction in 2019.”
Mr Dick said the K2H project is a very innovative but also unique situation in which a renewable energy project is proposed over an abandoned mine.
“This means that certain aspects of the project can only be regulated and approved by the Coordinator-General, which is another advantage of the flexibility of the coordinated project approach,” he said.
Mr Dick said the introduction of large-scale, low-cost flexible energy storage also provides another solution to Queensland’s growing power requirements.
If approved, construction is due to commence in 2019 and expected to be completed by 2021.