Genex Power reaches financial close for Kidston solar project

Genex’s pumped storage hydro project design.
Genex’s pumped storage hydro project design

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

The solar farm is expected to lead to the Phase Two development of a pumped hydro storage project on the same site, which is located in 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 CEFC is delighted to be part of the Kidston Solar Project Phase One, with our tailored finance helping accelerate the construction and delivery of the 50MW large-scale solar farm on this unique site,” CEFC Large-Scale Solar lead Gloria Chan said.

“This substantial solar farm is ideally located in an area of high solar penetration, and will be able to produce enough energy to meet the needs of almost 26,500 homes once it starts generating power later this year.”

Genex said that with full project construction underway for Phase One of the Kidston project, it will now turn to securing financial arrangements for the 250MW Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project.

“Genex was pleased to work closely with the CEFC on the financing of Phase One of the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub. As an ASX-listed company focused on renewable energy generation and storage, we are pleased to partner with the CEFC to develop this project,” Genex managing director Michael Addison said.

“The development of the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub is an important step in the transition of the Australian economy to a clean, low carbon economy.”

The news comes as Genex announced it had selected First Solar to deliver photovoltaic modules.

First Solar will supply 63 megawatts (MW)dc of advanced thin-film PV modules to the project which will produce 145,000 megawatt-hours of electricity in its first year of operation.

“As Australia continues to diversify its renewable energy portfolio, this project is an excellent example of the potential of large-scale solar application and industry best practice,” First Solar senior manager for business development Ewan Norton-Smith said.

“The combination of solar energy with pumped-storage hydroelectricity will allow for increasing penetration of renewable energy into the grid and will contribute to the stability of supply in the National Electricity Market.”

Genex estimates that on completion, the 250MW pumped hydro storage project will support 1500MWh of continuous power in a single six-hour generation cycle.