Industry News, Latest News, Projects, Queensland

NAIF spends $610M to turn old mine into pumped hydro

John Holland and McConnel Dowell will soon begin to convert a disused gold mine into a storage hydroelectric power generation facility.

Construction on new energy infrastructure is expected to create around 510 construction jobs, following a loan of up to $610 million to build a pumped hydro energy storage project in an abandoned gold mine.

The Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro project aims to act as a natural battery storage, allowing energy to be stored and harnessed on demand.

It will include an upper reservoir formed by a 20-metre-high dam around the existing Wises Pit, a lower reservoir utilising the existing Eldridge Pit, a powerhouse cavern with the capacity to generate 250 megawatts, a tailrace allowing water to pass from the powerhouse to the reservoirs and a spillway from the upper reservoir to the Copperfield River.

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility approved the loan to Genex Power to help develop new infrastructure in the north of Australia.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the project would allow low cost energy from renewable sources to be stored and supplied to users whenever they need the power.

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“The Genex project will be capable of storing and dispatching electricity at full design capacity for eight hours, for a total of 2000 megawatt hours per generation cycle,” Canavan said.

“Having that electricity available on demand during the peak will mean lower power prices, in addition to greater electricity network security and stability.

“By comparison, the Hornsdale lithium ion battery in South Australia, one of the largest batteries in the world when it was installed, is only able to provide electricity for approximately 75 minutes when at full capacity. The Hornsdale battery provides 129MWH of dispatchable energy – Kidston provides 2,000MWH.”

The project requires an agreement with the Queensland Government on shared financing of the transmission line connection it to the power grid.

Construction is expected to begin in the coming months with the project to be operational in 2023.

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