ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht joined Queensland’s Energy Minister Mark Bailey, project owner and developer Genex and project financiers (the
Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Société Générale) at a sod-turning event onsite at the Kidston Solar Project today.
Mr Frischknecht said the project was well placed to deliver on ARENA’s efforts to accelerate Australia’s shift to renewable energy.
“ARENA is all about ensuring a smooth transition to a reliable and secure energy future with affordable renewable energy,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“The Kidston Solar Project is one of 12 new solar farms to be built through ARENA’s large-scale solar round which is well on the way to changing the face of big solar in Australia.
“The 50 MW Kidston solar farm will produce enough energy to power the equivalent of 26,500 average Australian homes each year through the National Electricity Market.
“Almost all of Australia’s current large-scale capacity has been built with ARENA support – 211 MW of a total 241 MW.
“Our competitive large-scale solar round has further accelerated the commercialisation of the sector – our $92 million support has unlocked a billion dollars of renewable energy investment and is helping to drive down costs even more.
“We’ve seen the cost of electricity from solar power plants drop to almost the same level as wind power, and it may soon be even lower.
“When complete, the Kidston Solar Project and 11 other new solar farms selected for support through ARENA’s competitive round will triple
Australia’s large-scale solar capacity and deliver enough capacity to meet one tenth of the 2020 Renewable Energy Target.”
Genex Power noted the importance of the project’s location in North Queensland.
“The project benefits from having one of the best solar resources in Australia,” Managing Director Michael Addison said.
Executive Director Simon Kidston said the location of the project would also add stability to the local network in Northern Queensland.
“It will reduce the necessity for importing electricity from neighbouring areas, providing a benefit to the entire network,” Mr Kidston said.
ARENA has provided $8.9 million towards the $126 million Kidston solar farm through its competitive large-scale solar round and $4 million towards the pumped hydro feasibility study at the adjacent disused Kidston Gold Mine.