North Queensland's Kidston pumped hydro project to create jobs and deliver affordable, reliable power

Joint media release with Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor, Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson and Senator for Queensland Susan McDonald

A major energy project which will create 500 construction jobs and deliver affordable, reliable electricity for north Queensland has been secured thanks to support from the Liberal National Government through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Genex Power Ltd has today announced the Kidston pumped hydro project has reached a key funding milestone, with NAIF’s loan reaching contractual close.

Located west of Townsville, the Genex Kidston project has closed on a $610 million loan through NAIF and will also receive a $47 million grant from ARENA.

Expected to be completed by 2024, the project will repurpose the old Kidston gold mine to a 250 MW / 2000 MWh pumped hydro power station which will deliver eight hours of energy storage.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the project would be a major source of energy and jobs for north Queensland.

“The Kidston pumped hydro project will create around 500 jobs in north Queensland during the construction phase and will help secure long-term and affordable electricity supplies to help the region grow further over the next 50 years,” Minister Pitt said.

“I congratulate the Genex Power team and project partners for reaching contractual close on the NAIF loan and look forward to seeing the project come to life.”

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said a reliable pumped hydro project built in northern Queensland will be a crucial driver of affordable, reliable power for households and businesses in Queensland.

“The Kidston pumped hydro project will deliver regional jobs and create a long-term dispatchable supply for north Queensland,” Minister Taylor said.

“This is critically important for large manufacturers and C&I customers in regional Queensland who rely on affordable, firm energy to grow their business and employ more Australians.

“The Government is focused on supporting new dispatchable generation projects across Australia, including Snowy 2.0 and through the Underwriting New Generation Investments program, to put downward pressure on prices, keep the lights on, create jobs and help reduce emissions.”

Assistant Minister for Northern Australia Michelle Landry said the project was NAIF’s biggest investment so far, and underlined the Government’s commitment for NAIF to support jobs, development and opportunities in northern Australia.

“NAIF has made financing commitments worth around $2.8 billion, creating jobs and supporting economic expansion across northern Australia,” Assistant Minister Landry said.

“In Queensland, NAIF has supported projects with a total value of around $1 billion, supporting around 2500 jobs and returning an estimated economic benefit of more than $2.2 billion.

“Our reforms to NAIF, and the decision to extend NAIF’s investment period by five years to the end of June 2026, demonstrate the Government’s ongoing commitment to northern Australia as a great place to live, work and do business.”

Federal Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said the projects would bring major benefits for Townsville.

“We know in the north we pay more for power than almost anywhere else in the country, so anything that puts downward pressure on prices is a good thing,” Mr Thompson said.

“Being the closest major city to the project we also stand to benefit from the economic boost during the construction phase and even during operations.”

Townsville-based Senator, Susan McDonald, said recent changes to NAIF’s lending criteria had made it easier for job-creating projects to be built in North Queensland.

“NAIF staff have worked hard to facilitate this deal, and funding another major project in the North is very timely as we look to get people back into work and driving economic growth post-COVID,” Senator McDonald said.

The project includes a 186 kilometre transmission line to connect the project to the national grid, which is being funded by the Queensland Government.

Today's announcement builds on previous $17.9 million funding support from ARENA including technical and pre-feasibility studies for the project and $54 million in finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for the Genex Kidston Renewable Energy Hub.

Media contacts:

Assistant Minister Landry's office 02 6277 4283