The largest investment by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to date today reached a significant milestone with a ground-breaking ceremony at the 250MW Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project.
Genex Power Limited’s project, situated west of Townsville, is being supported by a loan from NAIF of up to $610 million, along with a $47 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Arena (ARENA).
Genex will be delivering the first pumped storage hydro project in Australia since 1984 and the first to be used solely for energy storage and generation rather than water management.
NAIF were early supporters of the Kidston project – which utilises an abandoned gold mine – and have worked closely with Genex and other participants to bring the project to fruition.
The Kidston project will help create a long-term dispatchable energy supply for north Queensland, which will be crucial to help businesses and households to find cheaper, reliable sources of electricity.
More than 500 jobs are expected to be created during construction of the pumped hydro project. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2024.
NAIF CEO Chris Wade said: “The early funding commitment of NAIF to the Kidston project was critical in providing other parties the confidence to proceed with finalising the project. Simply put, without NAIF’s early support, the Kidston pumped hydro project would not be able to go ahead. We congratulate the project sponsors on reaching ground-breaking and today is undoubtedly a fantastic day for the project and for north Queensland.”
Across northern Australia as a whole, NAIF has to date supported 25 projects with committed investment worth $2.9 Billion, which is forecast to generate around $9.4 billion in economic benefit and support around 9,000 jobs. In Queensland, NAIF has approved just over $1 Billion of loans to ten projects, supporting 3,400 jobs and returning an estimated economic benefit of $2.3 Billion.
NAIF has now reached contractual close of $989m in transactions in Queensland – a critical point of economic enablement where design and construction activities commence and job creation starts.
The Kidston pumped hydro project also includes a 186 kilometre transmission line to connect the project to the national grid, which is being funded by the Queensland Government.