The excavation of an underground powerhouse cavern at Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Power Plant in North Queensland, Australia, has begun. This comes approximately 14 months since the implementation of the project began in January 2022.
The project seeks to transform the former Kidston gold mine into a pumped storage hydroelectric power generation facility. It is being carried out by a Joint Venture between McConnell Dowell and John Holland.
Located approximately 270km northwest of Townsville, the plant is the flagship scheme of renewable energy and storage firm Genex. It will form part of a renewable energy hub that also includes 320MW solar and 258MW wind power plants.
Scope of the Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Power Plant Project in North Queensland, Australia
The project scope involves the conversion of the site’s two existing mine pits into upper and lower reservoirs. It also involves the construction of significant underground infrastructure that includes a large powerhouse cavern and waterway shafts.
The underground infrastructure also includes tunnels that will transfer water between the reservoirs. The water will be used to generate power when solar and wind generation is unavailable.
The Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Power Plant powerhouse will host two 125MW Andritz hydro reversible pump turbine units. These units will allow the turbines to be used to both generate electricity and pump water for energy storage purposes.
The project is expected to be completed in 2024 while the plants’ operation is expected to begin in early 2025. A new 200km (from Kidston to the East Coast of Queensland) transmission line with 275kV capacity will connect the facility to the main grid.