Genex Power has officially begun construction on the Kidston pumped hydro project 270km northwest of Townsville.
The project is backed by a Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan which will help to secure energy supply across north Queensland and support more than 500 jobs during construction and 30 ongoing jobs.
The project will deliver eight hours of energy storage daily when it starts operating from 2024.
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, said, “The project has Coalition Government support through a $610 million loan from the NAIF.
“I congratulate Genex Power for the 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.
“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.”
In addition to the $610 million loan from the NAIF, the project has also received a $47 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, said breaking ground on a new reliable pumped hydro project in northern Queensland is welcome news, and a key opportunity to drive affordable, reliable power for households and businesses in Queensland.
“The Kidston pumped hydro project will deliver regional jobs and create a long-term dispatchable supply for north Queensland,” Mr Taylor said.
“This is critically important for large manufacturers and C&I customers in regional Queensland who rely on affordable, firm energy to grow their business and employ more Australians.”
Assistant Minister for Northern Australia, Michelle Landry, said the 250MW/2000MWh pumped hydro power station would create jobs and opportunities for businesses across north Queensland.
“The project will help create jobs and opportunities in north Queensland and will deliver affordable, reliable power for households and businesses in the state,” Ms Landry said.
“The project is a great example of how the NAIF is supporting economic growth and jobs across Australia’s north.”
Townsville-based Queensland Senator, Susan McDonald, said, “This 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.
“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.”
In Queensland, NAIF has supported projects with a total value of around $1 billion, supporting around 3,400 jobs and returning an estimated economic benefit of more than $2.3 billion.
The Kidston pumped hydro project includes a 186km transmission line to connect the project to the national grid, which is being funded by the Queensland Government.