Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro - Feasibility Study

Client: Genex Power
Location: Queensland, Australia
Date: August 2015 – October 2016

Planning a solution to generate rapid response, flexible power to help mitigate the challenges of a network with more renewables.

Background

Genex Power is an Australian publicly-listed company focusing on the production and storage of renewable energy. The 250MW Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project is one of the company’s cornerstone projects.

The project is significant because there are currently only three pumped storage hydro schemes in Australia, so it is set to be the first of its kind to be built in the country in decades. It comes at a time when there is increased recognition that large-scale energy storage is required to mitigate challenges that may come with the introduction of more wind and solar power into the Australian market.

Situated some 270km North West of Townsville, near the township of Georgetown, the project is located on the site of the historic Kidston Gold Mine. The abandoned mine site contains two large adjacent pits with the potential to act as the upper and lower reservoirs required for pumped storage hydropower generation.

Genex Power engaged Entura to deliver a bankable feasibility study for the project.

Solution

Partnering with power and design consultants HydroChina, Entura brought a utility-owner perspective, deep local experience, regulatory knowledge and optimisation capability to the feasibility stage project.

In addition to the feasibility study, Entura oversaw subcontracted investigations, including geotechnical investigations and a bathymetric survey. We also facilitated environmental and planning approvals for the project site.

A number of project size options ranging from 200 MW to 450 MW were developed as part of the technical feasibility study. Increased generation capacity was made possible through our introduction of a “Turkey’s Nest” dam as the upper reservoir as part of the general arrangement.

Following detailed market studies undertaken by Genex and its financial consultants to assess the pricing and revenue impacts of the various options considered, it was determined that a 250MW scheme with six hours of continuous generation, totalling a nominal 1,500 MWh of energy storage capacity, would be the optimal size.

Outcome

Entura completed the technical feasibility study of the Kidston Pumped Storage Project in 13 months. The study concluded that all of the key risks identified at the pre-feasibility stage, and any additional risks identified during the study, have been appropriately mitigated or addressed through detailed design augmentation and optimisation undertaken by Entura and project partner HydroChina.

Much of the work undertaken by Entura was focussed on optimising the project to achieve a design which is technically and commercially feasible, with all the environmental aspects comprehensively addressed. Following a thorough investigation, a preferred configuration has been determined and the project is now fully designed from a technical feasibility perspective.

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