October 20 (Renewables Now) - Australia's Genex Power Ltd (ASX:GNX) said today it has optimised the design of its 250-MW Kidston pumped storage hydro project, increasing its storage capacity to over 2,000 MWh from 1,500 MWh.
The company added that it sees a clear path to reaching financial close for the project, located at the disused Kidston gold mine in North Queensland, in 2018. According to an e-mailed statement, it is to announce its energy off-take partner soon.
Genex successfully completed a technical feasibility study for the pumped hydro scheme in November 2016 and has been working with engineering firm Mott on its optimisation. The optimisation keeps the project's installed capacity at 250 MW but increases its storage capacity by 25% to provide for more than eight hours of continuous generation, compared to six hours previously. It also calls for the adoption of variable speed pump-generator turbines for greater flexibility.
Genex said large-scale energy storage is becoming increasingly important as Australia's National Electricity Market is transitioning fast from a traditional baseload dominant market to one that will be underpinned by dispatchability and storage of renewable energy.
The company said it will now focus on confirming the cost estimate of AUD 330 million (USD 259m/EUR 219m) for the project by means of an early contractor involvement process, which will include the appointment of a preferred engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor.
The pumped storage hydro scheme will be co-located with a 270-MW solar project, together forming stage two of the Kidston project.
(AUD 1 = USD 0.784/EUR 0.664)