Professional services company GHD is delivering the detailed design services for the ground-breaking 250 MW Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro project in a joint venture with Mott MacDonald.

Located north west of Townsville in Queensland, this world first Genex Power project will convert a decommissioned gold mine into a pumped storage hydroelectric power generation facility, forming a key part in Australia’s future energy transition.

The project has the potential to generate up to 250MW of rapid response, emissions-free flexible power for delivery into Australia’s National Electricity Market.

The project moved into the construction phase in May 2021 after receiving $47 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and $610 million from the Northern Territory Infrastructure Facility.

Design services will go to the contractor, the McConnell Dowell – John Holland joint venture.

GHD project director, Craig Berry, said the joint venture teams have been working together to minimise environmental impacts.

He said they have benefitted from the storages created by the mine.

The project includes repurposing the former gold mine site and turning two existing pits at the mine into lower and upper reservoirs for water to be stored, integrating with the already built Kidston Solar Power Plant.

During the day, solar electricity generated from the solar plants will be used to pump water from the lower to the upper reservoir.

This water will be released from the upper to the lower reservoir during peak electricity demand periods generating dispatchable electricity. And each evening grid power will also be used to pump water into the upper reservoir storing electricity to dispatch during peak demands.  

The project also involves the construction of significant underground infrastructure including a large powerhouse cavern, waterway shafts and tunnels and includes a 25 m high embankment dam around the upper reservoir.

The powerhouse will contain two 125-MW reversible pump turbine units supplied by ANDRITZ.

GHD’s national practice leader for tunnels and engineering delivery, Brendan Henry said the project is the first pumped hydro energy storage project in Australia for more than 40 years.

Construction on the Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro is expected to be finished by 2024.

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