Early works will commence at the Kidston pumped hydro project, with Genex Power preparing to kick-start main construction works early next year.
The company said that it had signed an ‘early works agreement’ with network company Powerlink to commence design work for a new 275kV transmission line that would connect the Kidston project to the main grid.
In a statement to the ASX, Genex said that Powerlink had agreed to kick-start the project management processes for the network upgrades, as well as commencing engagement with contractors.
Genex will also work to renovate the Oaks Rush construction camp, which is expected to host up to 500 workers during the construction of the pumped hydro project, as well as the refurbishing of the nearby Kidston airstrip, allowing workers to be flown directly to the construction site.
Genex said that it would also upgrade the communication infrastructure at the remote project site.
The Kidston pumped hydro project is to be built at the site of dis-used gold mine pits in northern Queensland and located around 275km west of Townsville.
The project will establish up 250MW/2,000MWh of pumped hydro storage, and Genex has plans to co-locate large-scale wind and solar projects at the site.
The decision to commence early works follows the Genex board signing off on its final investment decision on the pumped hydro project. The company is yet to secure financial close on the project, however, and is hoping to finalise agreements with key project partners in the new year.
With negotiations with the project partners being highly progressed, Genex CEO James Harding said that the company had enough confidence to commence the early works in anticipation of signing off on final agreements in the first quarter of 2021. Genex is looking to lock down commitments from utilities EnergyAustralia and J-Power, as well as a $610 million loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility needed to fund main construction works.
“Genex has been working tirelessly with all our project stakeholders to progress the development of the Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project to this point, and we are delighted to have commenced a targeted programme of early works which will ensure the site is ready for construction activity to start early in 2021,” Genex CEO James Harding said.
“K2-Hydro is a significant development project for regional Queensland. It will create over 500 direct jobs during the construction phase and will support businesses and communities in Kidston, Einasleigh and the surrounding areas of Northern Queensland.
“We look forward to providing further updates on the final approvals and financial close process for K2-Hydro in the coming weeks,” Harding added.