Innovative pumped storage hydro design by Entura beats expectations
May 2, 2016
Specialist power and water consulting firm Entura has developed an innovative design for Genex Power’s Kidston Pumped Storage Hydropower Project in North Queensland, Australia.
Following an extensive project optimisation process, Entura and project partner HydroChina produced a design that has the potential to increase the plant’s head and peaking generation capacity of the project to a maximum of 450 MW over a 5-6 hour period, beating earlier expectations.
“The new design provides the lowest cost per MW of installed capacity and presents the lowest operating and environmental risk,” said Genex Power Managing Director Michael Addison. “Clever thinking and commercial focus has delivered an optimal design solution to maximise the potential of our project.”
Project Director and Principal Consultant, Civil Engineering at Entura, Richard Herweynen, said significant studies and investigations have been undertaken over the past months to provide confidence around this solution.
“Our new design, which provides for a low turkey’s nest dam design for the upper reservoir located on the top of an old waste rock dump, was developed through a detailed options assessment and optimisation process,” explained Mr Herweynen.
“This new configuration incorporates several strategic advantages and removes a number of the previous constraints inherent in the initial concept and, most significantly, enables a substantial increase in the installed capacity of the project from the initial 330 MW to up to 450MW, which is a fantastic outcome for our client.”
The Kidston Pumped Storage Hydropower Project is being developed at the disused Kidston Gold Mine in North Queensland and the feasibility study phase is being supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). There are currently only three pumped storage hydro schemes in Australia.
Pumped storage hydropower has the potential to generate rapid response, flexible power for delivery into Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM). It is a highly efficient form of large-scale energy storage that could help mitigate challenges that may come with the introduction of more wind and solar power into the NEM.
Entura has worked with clients in more than 30 countries over the past few decades – including India, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, South Africa and Tajikistan – assisting with developing, operating and maintaining hydropower assets of all sizes.