Case studies

Qld solar farm paves the way for innovative pumped hydro storage project

Genex Power Ltd has secured $54 million in debt finance from the CEFC for the development of the Phase One 50MW large-scale solar farm at its Kidston Renewable Energy Hub, near Townsville. 

WATCH: North Queensland's renewable energy hub

The solar farm is expected to lead to the Phase Two development of a pumped hydro storage project on the same site.

The innovative project is based around the former Kidston gold mine.

The project will be the first of its kind in Australia to co-locate a large-scale solar farm with a large-scale pumped hydro storage project, creating a combined generation and storage model that can be used elsewhere.

By using clean energy to extend the life of the disused gold mine site, the Kidston project also creates a potential model for other disused mine sites around Australia.

The solar farm, which is generating and exporting to the grid, is expected to produce 145GWh of renewable electricity a year ,which is the equivalent of powering almost 26,500 Australian homes. It is expected to abate 120,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

The solar farm has a 20-year set-price Power Purchase Agreement with the Queensland Government.

The site is ideal for a solar farm because it has one of the highest solar irradiation levels in Australia and year-round solar exposure. There is an existing substation and transmission line next to the plant, which add to the site's solar suitability.