The federal government is committing $54 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) for the development of a large-scale solar project with the potential for pumped hydro storage.

The solar development will take place at Genex Power’s Kidston Renewable Energy Hub, 270km north-west of Townsville.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has provided $4 million for a study into the next phase, a 250MW pumped hydro-storage project.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said developing storage technology for renewables was important for stabilising the grid as electricity could still be used when the sun was not shining or the wind was not blowing.

Co-locating a large-scale solar farm with a large-scale pumped hydro storage project will be an Australian first.

At the federal government’s request, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the CEFC, agreed to work together on a priority new funding round for large-scale storage and other flexible capacity projects including pumped hydro.  

The government has already spent or committed more than $220 million in funding for a suite of energy storage projects across the country.

Mr Turnbull said Australia had to ensure that renewable energy was being properly integrated into the grid following a series of blackouts in South Australia.

Mr Turnbull said the government was taking a technology neutral approach to energy security and affordability and realised the importance of developing and mobilising storage technology to deal with the challenges of intermittency posed by renewables.

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