Genex gets ARENA funding for Kidston solar and pumped hydro project

Genex Power, an Australian company focused on generation and storage of renewable energy, has received funding of up to A$5m ($3.7m) from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for the company's Kidston Stage 2 project in North Queensland.

Kidston Stage 2 is an integrated solar and pumped hydro hybrid project that comprises of a 250MW pumped hydro electricity storage (PHES) facility (K2-Hydro) and a co-located 270MW solar project (K2-Solar).

The company is expecting to bring the project to financial close by next year.

The funding will be used towards specified pre-financial close activities to go ahead with the K2 project’s financial close.

Genex managing director Michael Addison said: “The continued support from ARENA is testament to the innovative nature of the project, and the growing importance of large-scale energy storage in the context of the increasing penetration of renewable energy in the National Electricity Market.”

The project is expected to generate about 783GWh of renewable electricity each year, which is enough to power 140,000 Australian households.

The site is located 270km north west of Townsville and will use two existing gold mining pits as the reservoirs for the project to reduce construction time and costs.

According to Genex, the solar and pumped hydro hybrid project, will allow the company to become a reliable, dispatchable and affordable energy generating system running entirely on renewables.

The project is also expected to provide grid stability and support grid ancillary services.

During periods of peak power demand, water from the upper reservoir will be released, which will pass through reversible turbines, generating electricity.

And, during off peak periods or when the sun is abundant, water will be pumped back from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir using the electricity generated from the solar plant.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said: “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.”