The world’s first integrated solar and pumped hydro hybrid project at Kidston got a boost as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced funding to Genex to help bring it to financial close in 2018.
Genex told the ASX on Friday that ARENA would provide up to $5m to support pre-financial close activities.
The Kidston Stage Two is a hybrid solar and hydro project is expected to comprise a hybrid 250MW pumped hydro electricity storage (PHES) facility and 270MW solar PV, generating around 783GWh of renewable electricity per year and powering over 140,000 Australian homes.
The Kidston site near Einasleigh will use two gold mining pits as the reservoirs for the project to minimise construction time and costs.
The solar PV and PHES hybrid enables Genex to create a reliable, dispatchable and affordable energy generator that is entirely renewable. PHES will also be also be able to provide stability and support to the grid, including ancillary services.
During peak power demand periods water will be released from the upper to the lower reservoir, passing through reversible turbines. During off peak periods and when sun is abundant, water will be pumped back from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir using electricity primarily from the solar farm.
“Stage Two of the Kidston hydro and solar project is an important step in achieving a secure and reliable grid for Australia and increasing the value delivered by renewable energy,” ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said.
“Kidston will be the only grid connected solar project located in Australia’s solar red zone, providing consistent strong sun throughout the year, and combining it with pumped hydro will provide Queensland access to an entirely renewable flexible energy option,” he said.
ARENA has previously provided $4m to Genex towards the technical feasibility study of the PHES portion of the project, and a further $8.9 million towards Kidston Stage One solar PV project as part of the $92m large scale solar PV competitive round.