Genex Power has selected a design for its new pumped storage hydroelectric power plant it is developing at the site of the disused Kidston Gold Mine in North Queensland.

The pumped storage project has the potential to 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.

The 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 Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is supporting the project’s feasibility work by providing up to $4million in 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.

ARENA said 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.

Genex is now undertaking detailed design work to inform the next steps of the project’s development.

The design work is on track for completion in Quarter 3 of 2016.

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