Genex gets development approval for next 270MW stage of Kidston solar | RenewEconomy

Genex gets development approval for next 270MW stage of Kidston solar

Genex gets DA for next stage of its Kidston solar project, which will end up becoming the country’s, and most likely the world’s, first major solar project paired with large pumped hydro storage.

The 50MW Kidston Solar Project

Genex Power says it has received development approval for the next stage of its Kidston solar project, which will end up becoming the country’s, and most likely the world’s, first major solar project paired with large pumped hydro storage.

In a statement on Tuesday, Genex says the Etheridge shire council has given the development approval (DA) for the K2-Solar project, which will involve up to 270MW of large scale solar – over and above the nearly completed first stage of 50MW.

The K2-Solar project forms a key part of the plan to build a pumped hydro storage project in the old Kidston gold mine.

Engineering contracts for both components are expected to be completed by the end of June, and discussions on finance are also taking place.

It has also selected hydraulic power specialist Andritz as the preferred electromechanical equipment supplier, including the reversible Francis pump-turbines.

It published this 3D image above, showing the internal structure between the two reservoirs showing the axis spiral decline, intake shaft (far right), cable shaft (middle) and emergency egress (left) and the tailrace tunnel at the bottom.

Genex indicated that it was likely to build the K2-Solar project in stages to match energy off take agreement and “energy transfer capabilities”.

The Kidston project may be the first, but will not be the only large scale solar plant to be paired with pumped hydro storage.

SIMEC ZEN Energy is also looking at  solar and storage as part of plans to power the Whyalla steel works with renewable energy, and to install more than 1GW of solar in South Australia to power other big manufacturing businesses too.


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  1. RobertO 3 years ago

    Hi All, I wonder if the person that told me that Kidston would never happen has read this. I did tell him/her “Go tell the company as I have no need to know your opinion!”

    I wonder if the Transformers are “Australian Built”. I wonder how many “Australian are employed by this project and why are so many of the Australian Political scene are so quite about this project.

    In any project that we do we need to choose “Australian Employment” over spending monies overseas (where possible). An example is how many batteries for household should Australia buy before we decide that we should process the minerals and build them in Australia.

    I look forward to this project making it.

    • john 3 years ago

      I expect that the work force will be totally Australian.
      As to the equipment beyond my knowledge frankly.
      Yes it must bring a smile to your face remembering the doubters, who now have that sticky egg to remove.

      • RobertO 3 years ago

        Hi John, There will be perhaps a few engineers from overseas, specialist francis turbine people to oversee their product being installed. I am hoping that “Wilson Transformers Co got the build job for the substations transformers.

    • Eb 3 years ago

      I also look forward to the PV project being built. What I previously pointed out was the pumped hydro component of this project is likely to have challenges in raising finance. Would you spend >$300m to build the pumped hydro infrastructure to earn <$10m per year from it? However, I acknowledge my annual earnings estimate is back-of-the-envelope and does not factor in the proposed NEG. Anyone seen a detailed economic analysis of the pumped hydro aspects of this project?

      • RobertO 3 years ago

        Hi Eb, No and your chances of seeing one would be commercial in confidence (ie zero). The only point that I am certain of is that in the board room of the company they would have discussed all the possible options and they would know all the risks associated with this project. They will have made the decisions based on much more information that you or I would have access to. The NEG only arrived in the last 6 -7 months and the NEG would benefit the balance sheets of this company (They can sell their reliability factor to wind or solar farms).

      • saugato mukerji 3 years ago

        Energy storage is going to be worth more than the simple economic return based on difference between the daily peaks and lows in pricing.

        This will very likely come from insurance, as businesses and utilities start to insure against the possibility of blackouts or grid power price spikes as part of that insurance premium is spent to ensure reliable energy storage like the 2000MWH Kidston PHES and others are kept operational and profitable.

        The risk of these potential blackout events is going to increase as Australia and the world makes progress towards the zero net emissions target. The following scenario underlines the reasons.

        As renewables share crosses 50% sometime in the next decade or two It is not hard to imagine the system wide power shortfall that will be created by a combination of east coast wide cloud cover, coupled with a drop in wind velocity. To compound the problem this can happen on a hot and humid, above normal temp summer day with above average HVAC load. The only remaining protection at this point will be energy storage facilities and demand management.

        The energy storage will be a combination of large PHES energy storage and distributed battery based storage.

        While the exact economics for the energy storage capability premium has not yet fully been worked out, it is a certainty and in the longer run will support the returns of PHES investments for a long time.

  2. George Darroch 3 years ago

    This is extremely exciting! A quiet revolution in storage is just around the corner.

    • john 3 years ago

      And the more of; what is the number? over 20,000 sites that lend themselves to PHES the better.

  3. My_Oath 3 years ago

    “Axis spiral decline”

    The word you are looking for is “access”.

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