Genex Power Ltd (ASX:GNX) has secured up to AUD 5 million (USD 3.8m/EUR 3.2m) in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to help bring the world's first integrated solar and pumped hydro hybrid project in Kidston, North Queensland to financial close by mid-2018, the parties said on Friday in separate statements.
The funding is for the Kidston Stage 2 project, which includes the 250-MW Kidston pumped storage hydro project and a co-located 270-MW photovoltaic (PV) project. The grant will support pre-financial close activities, with up to AUD 4.5 million of the sum to be convertible at the minister's discretion.
The hybrid project is expected to produce around 783 GWh of renewable electricity per year, powering more than 140,000 Australian homes. ARENA said the combination of pumped hydro and solar creates an entirely renewable generator of reliable, dispatchable and affordable energy. The project, which will use two existing gold mining pits as reservoirs, will also provide ancillary services to the grid. Pumping the water to the upper reservoir during off-peak periods and when there is much sun will be powered mainly by the solar farm.
"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," commented ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht.
Genex managing director Michael Addison said that "the ARENA funding will be applied towards Genex’s project financing and EPC finalisation activities as the Company continues its engagement with EPC contractors, energy partners and debt and equity providers."
Genex announced in October it has selected a joint venture between McConnell Dowell Constructors Aust Pty Ltd and Downer EDI Ltd preferred engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the 250-MW pumped storage hydro project.
ARENA has previously supported the technical feasibility study of the pumped hydro scheme with AUD 4 million. It has also provided funding for the Kidston stage one solar project as part of its large-scale solar competitive round.
(AUD 1 = USD 0.756/EUR 0.641)
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