The $1.05 billion Kidston hydro and solar project has been given special status by the state government to reduce red tape.
The Genex project, located at the disused Kidston gold mine in north Queensland, includes a 1500MWh hydro storage plant with the potential to power 100,000 homes, as well as a 50MW solar farm.
The second stage of the solar project includes an additional 270MW of capacity.
The project was today given critical infrastructure status.
“Kidston’s 50MW first stage solar farm is already under construction and has created 88 jobs, out of a total 500 construction jobs and 18 operational positions expected for the project,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“This decision highlights our commitment to generate 50 per cent of Queensland’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030 and the job-generating effect that action will have.”
State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said prescribed project powers and critical infrastructure status allowed Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General to employ special powers to help deliver a project and ensure timely approvals.
“This is about supporting a project that will help deliver a reliable renewable energy source and support hundreds of jobs,” Dr Lynham said.
“It will help deliver energy stability and contribute to our commitments to deliver more renewable energy over the coming years.”
Kidston’s 50MW first stage was the first solar farm to begin construction under the Palaszczuk Government’s Solar 150 program.
“We’re committed to transitioning to a clean energy future responsibly which will see Queensland’s energy system powered by a mix of renewables, gas and traditional baseload generation,” Energy Minister Mark Bailey said.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s $386 million Powering North Queensland Plan, which will deliver future energy security and 5000 jobs for North Queensland, will support the pipeline of clean energy projects committed and proposed for North Queensland including Genex’s Kidston project,” he said.
“The Genex project is part of a wave of renewable energy investment activity in North Queensland, with more than 830 megawatts of large-scale projects commencing construction or finalising commercial arrangements.”
Kidston’s 50MW first stage is expected to be completed by late this year, the additional 270MW stage two is due to be completed in early 2020, and the 250MW hydro-electric power station in 2021.