CASE STUDY - INVESTMENT DECISION (July 2019)
The Kidston project is the first pumped hydro energy storage scheme globally to be developed in an abandoned gold mine. The project includes a contribution to the construction cost of the 186km transmission line from the Kidston site to Mt Fox.
LOCATION: North west of Townsville, Queensland
PROPONENT: Genex Power Limited
NAIF LOAN: Up to $610m for 30 years (single debt financier)
CO-FINANCIERS: Genex 50% equity, Energy Australia 50% equity
TOTAL PROJECT VALUE: Commercial in confidence
PUBLIC BENEFIT: $814m (to economy and community) including $235m direct value add for Far North Queensland, 510 construction jobs (including supporting transmission line), up to 20 operational jobs
Kidston Project stage 2 pumped hydro energy storage scheme
About the Project
Kidston is essentially a giant battery, pumping water uphill when energy is abundant during off peak periods and releasing it to create power in times of peak demand. The project is co-located at an existing 50MW solar farm and a larger solar farm at the same location is planned.
The project will buy and store power from the National Electricity Market when it is cheap and plentiful in off peak periods. It will then sell it back to the market when prices go up in periods of high demand, typically in the morning and evening peak periods. The additional source of peak generation capacity will lead to lower average wholesale power prices which would flow to end users through the competitive retail power market.
The project’s storage capability makes renewable energy dispatchable and reliable, which is needed in order to increase the market share of renewable generation.
- 186km 275kv transmission line.
- New substations switchyard and control building.
- Dam construction.
- Powerhouse cavern, two pump/turbines.
- Upgrade of local airstrip.
The Value NAIF Brings
The Kidston project is supported by NAIF’s largest loan approved to date (as at July 2019) of up to $610m (representing ~12% of NAIF’s total $5bn allocated capital).
In 2018 NAIF conditionally approved a project loan. This approval catalysed interest in the project. The NAIF conditional approval helped Genex secure other support for the project, including support from EnergyAustralia through a long-term offtake agreement and equity investment, and an agreement with J-Power of Japan to invest in Genex, conditional on the Kidston project closing.
Concessions offered by NAIF are required to help overcome disadvantages of the project’s remote location compared to a development closer to major urban centres, including:
- higher construction costs;
- higher costs incurred in accommodating and flying the workforce to and from the project to Townsville;
- the significant cost of the required transmission infrastructure; and
- relatively high transmission losses due to distance from current energy load.
- Maximising opportunities for local Ewamian and other indigenous workers and contractors; and
- Funding a contribution for an Ewamian owned eco-tourist facility.
Economic Impact and Public Benefit
The project is forecast by Deloitte Economics to contribute $814m in public benefit to the regional, state and national economy and community including $235m direct value add for Far North Queensland. Benefits include:
- wholesale market energy cost savings estimated at a present value of $500m;
- emission savings;
- reliable, on demand electricity; and
- 510 Construction and 20 operational jobs.
James Harding - Genex CEO:
"The support we have received from the NAIF team in advancing the Kidston project has been instrumental in getting the project to the stage it is today – NAIF’s conditional approval for the project in June 2018 brought confidence in the project’s financeability. This has been vital in building the momentum we have achieved with a range of other project participants and stakeholders."