Feasibility work for the Kidston pumped storage project is progressing well, with a preferred design now selected by Genex Power Limited (Genex).
Genex is developing a pumped storage hydroelectric power plant at the disused Kidston Gold Mine in North Queensland. The plant could potentially generate rapid response, flexible power for delivery into Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM). The plant would be a highly efficient form of large-scale energy storage that could help manage the introduction of more solar and wind power into the NEM.
An extensive design process has produced an innovative option that could increase the plant’s storage and peaking generation capacity of the project to a maximum of 450 MW over a 5-6 hour period, beating earlier expectations.
The option provides the lowest cost per MW of installed capacity and presents the lowest operating and environmental risk.
The design layout has evolved substantially since the pre-feasibility phase. An optimised design now includes an alternative shallow dam design for the upper reservoir known as a “Turkey’s Nest”. The upper reservoir would be constructed on top of one of the existing waste rock dumps adjacent to the Eldridge lower reservoir.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is supporting the feasibility work with up to $4 million funding. The funding has unique features such as the ability to be converted to equity or repaid to ARENA if the project reaches financial close.
Genex is now undertaking detailed design work, on track for completion in Q3 2016, to inform the next steps of the project’s development.