Wind farm proposed for Kidston Solar Pumped Hydro project

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Genex Power has proposed the addition of a 150MW capacity wind farm to its solar plus pumped hydro Kidston project in north Queensland.

The project would be a world-first combination of the three technologies at such scale, and would potentially combine 320MW of solar, 250MW of pumped hydro and 10 hours storage, and the 150MW of wind capacity.

Together, with the Kennedy Energy Hub just 80km to the south – which is looking to combine wind, solar and battery storage, and potentially a mega installation of 1200MW – it means that Queensland could be host of the world’s two leading renewables plus storage projects.

“We’re really excited about it – it is the opportunity to provide reliable dispatchable renewables, all integrated and coming together beautifully,”  Genex director, Simon Kidston, told RenewEconomy.

Kidston says the wind would be stronger at night and compliment the output of the solar farm.

“If there is a lull, we can tap into the pumped hydro and get almost instantaneous output and maintain a smooth generation profile,” Mr Kidston said.

Kidston would not be drawn on costs, but said the combined project would deliver reliable, dispatchable power at a significant discount to a new coal-fired power station, which some locals are pushing for in the area.

The wind farm will be located on a neighbouring escarpment some 350m above the surrounding topography, and about 40 turbines will stretch out for a distant of 21km.

Genex announced that it has signed a heads of agreement with two local landholders that gives it the option to develop the new wind farm project, which would add another stage to the company’s Kidston Renewable Energy hub.

The wind site is just 10km away from the solar and pumped hydro storage facility, which will be located in the old Kidston gold mine.

Genex Managing Director, Michael Addison, said the addition of wind would give the project diversity across three renewable energy sources at the one site.

“We view K3-Wind as the first of a number of diversified future projects that will selectively expand our corporate portfolio, and place Genex as one of the key renewable energy and energy storage developers in Australia.”

The company has nearly completed the first stage 50MW solar farm, and has gained planning approval for the second stage solar farm. It is also seeking finance for that and the pumped hydro component of the project.

Genex will commence a detailed feasibility study into the wind component – which may take up to 18 months. It will look at the wind resource as well as transmission requirements, capital and operating costs, and firming up of anticipated capacity factors.

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