Kidston Solar Project breaks ground

Gene Oiwes pumped storage hydro project

Work has commenced on Genex Power’s $126 million Kidston Solar Project in North Queensland, the first solar farm to begin construction under the Queensland Government’s Solar 150 program.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey said today’s breaking ground ceremony was a sign of investor confidence in both regional Queensland as well as the state’s renewable credentials.

“This is an exciting day for Queensland, and in particular North Queensland,” Mr Bailey said.

“The Kidston Solar Project is a $126 million dollar revival of a gold mine for the North’s economy and is symbolic of the transition occurring in the energy market.

“Starting today, a construction crew of some 100 workers will erect and wire some 537,000 photovoltaic solar panels which when complete will pump up to 50 megawatts of renewable energy into North Queensland’s electricity grid.”

Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke said the Kidston Solar Farm would bring renewable energy and jobs to North Queensland, powering the local grid and the local economy.

“The solar farm is just the first stage. The second stage includes an additional 270MW of capacity as well as a 1500MWh hydro storage facility,” Ms O’Rourke said.

The project is a recipient of the federal government’s ARENA-funding, as well as additional financial support under the Queensland Government’s Solar 150 program, which provides a 20-year revenue guarantee.

Genex Power managing director Michael Addison said the project was a showcase for the potential of large scale renewable projects in Queensland.

“Once constructed, the project will have the highest capacity factor of all solar projects in Australia, a testament to the strong solar resource in the Sunshine State,” he said.

“In addition to ARENA and the CEFC, the strong support Genex has received from the Queensland State Government in the approvals process and the Solar 150 program has underpinned the successful development of the project.

“The successful deployment of the stage 1 solar project at Kidston will now enable Genex to fast track development of the stage 2 expansion and, importantly, the 250MW pumped storage project at Kidston.”

Construction of the Kidston Solar Farm is expected to be completed and grid-connected and by early 2018.