Genex Power is expecting to bring the project to financial close in 2018. Under the terms of the funding agreement, the funding will 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 Kidston Stage 2 project comprises of a 250MW pumped hydro project (K2 Hydro) and a co-located 270MW solar project (K2 Solar). The hybrid project is expected to generate about 783GWh of renewable electricity each year, which is enough to power 140,000 Australian households.

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

This solar and pumped hydro hybrid project, as per Genex, can 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.”

“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.”

Image: ARENA supports pumped hydro and solar hybrid project in Australia. Photo: Courtesy of Australian Renewable Energy Agency.