Work has officially begun on a major new energy project to help to secure energy supply across north Queensland.
The Genex Power Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) project at Kidston has received federal support through a $610 million loan from the NAIF, plus a $47 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as well as state funding to connect it to the energy grid.
On Thursday Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt celebrated the start of construction for the project 270 km northwest of Townsville which will deliver eight hours of energy storage daily when it starts operating from 2024.
"I congratulate Genex Power for today's milestone, which marks the start of a mini boom in construction jobs for north Queensland, and a project which will strengthen energy security for the region," Mr Pitt said.
"The project will transform the old Kidston gold mine into a major energy storage project which will help stabilise energy supplies in Queensland and keep energy prices as low as possible."
The $777 million project including transmission infrastructure will be the first pumped hydro plant to be built in Australia since 1984, and the first to be used specifically to support integration of variable renewable energy generation from solar and wind.
Located at the former Kidston Gold Mine near Einasleigh the project is a 250 MW / 2000 MWh PHES, equivalent to eight hours of energy storage.
Two existing mining pits at the former gold mine will be used as the upper and lower reservoirs for the PHES.
In peak power demand periods, water will be released from the upper to the lower reservoir, passing through reversible turbines. During off peak periods and when the sun is abundant, water will be pumped back from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir using electricity imported from the National Electricity Market.
Queensland Senator Susan McDonald represented the government at a sod-turning event for the Kidston project.
"Today is a fantastic day for north Queensland, with work officially starting on the Kidston project which will create more opportunities for people and industries in northern Australia," Senator McDonald said.
"The Kidston Project is the NAIF's biggest investment so far, and underlines the Australian Government commitment for NAIF to support development in northern Australia."
The Kidston pumped hydro project includes a 186 kilometre transmission line to connect the project to the national grid, funded by the Queensland Government.
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