The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has approved a loan of up to $160 million for Genex Power Limited’s Kidston pumped hydro-energy storage project, west of Townsville – the organisation’s largest investment to date.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, said the loan demonstrated the government’s commitment to building new infrastructure and creating jobs in the north by using NAIF financing to bolster private investment.
“This is an exciting new project for North Queensland – one that will create a long-term future for the north’s industries and households, with affordable and reliable power a key consideration for anyone looking to operate an energy intensive business in the region. It will also help keep downward pressure on household electricity bills for northern households,” Mr Canavan said.
“The NAIF is investing in this project because of the importance of affordable and reliable power in developing the north. An added bonus of the project is the anticipated 510 jobs created during construction of the project and its supporting transmission line, along with roughly 30 ongoing jobs, and a direct contribution of $235 million to north Queensland’s economy.”
Mr Canavan said the project would allow low cost energy from renewable sources to be stored and supplied to users whenever they needed the power.
“The Genex project will be capable of storing and dispatching electricity at full design capacity for eight hours, for a total of 2,000MW hours per generation cycle. Having that electricity available on demand during the peak will mean lower power prices, in addition to greater electricity network security and stability.
“By comparison, the Hornsdale lithium ion battery in South Australia — one of the largest batteries in the world when it was installed — is only able to provide electricity for approximately 75 minutes when at full capacity. The Hornsdale battery provides 129MWH of dispatchable energy – Kidston provides 2,000MWH.”
The project also requires an agreement with the Queensland Government on shared financing of the transmission line connecting it to the power grid under its Powering North Queensland policy. Construction is expected to start late 2019, with the project to be operational in 2023.
To date, NAIF has committed $1.4 billion in loans through investment decisions and conditional approvals to 13 infrastructure projects across northern Australia.