The first formal deed of agreement under the Palaszczuk Government’s Solar 150 program has been officially signed marking a major milestone in the sunshine state’s shift to the solar state.
Energy Minister Mark Bailey and Genex, the project proponents of the large-scale Kidston solar project and energy storage facility, today signed the deed of agreement for the Palaszczuk Government’s long term financial support of the project.
Mr Bailey said the deed’s signing is the final step needed for the Kidston solar project located North West of Townsville to confirm funding and begin construction of its 50 megawatt solar generator at the disused Kidston Gold mine.
“The execution of this deed locks in Queensland’s long-term commitment to this project, guaranteeing financial security and enabling the project to reach its financial close,” Mr Bailey said.
“The confirmation of the Kidston project’s inclusion in the State’s Solar 150 Program provides a 20 year revenue guarantee, meaning financial contracts can now be delivered and construction can begin.
“The innovative Kidston Solar Farm is also a successful recipient of $8.9 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and is the first of its kind for the State,” Mr Bailey said.
“Kidston’s first stage involves the employment of 88 workers to construct 50 megawatts of solar generation capacity.
“Its second stage includes an additional 270 megawatts of capacity as well as a 1500 megawatt-hour hydro storage facility.
“This project is more than just a solar generator and energy storage facility, it recycles a retired North Queensland Gold mining icon by using existing site infrastructure,” Mr Bailey said.
Genex Executive Director Simon Kidston said the hydro storage facility will utilise solar energy to pump water between the mine’s two old mining pits which can run a hydro electricity generator at times of peak demand or when sunlight is not available.
“This means that upon stage two completion, the storage project on its own will have the ability to use solar energy to power 100,000 North Queensland homes even during the evening peak,” Mr Kidston said.
“By providing storage ability the farm will be able to play an important role in providing a consistent, secure electricity supply to regional Queensland.”
Mr Bailey said this project and many more across the state were all part of Queensland’s transition to a clean energy economy.
“We’re committed to a cleaner, greener renewable energy economy and we’re on our way to 50 per cent renewables target by 2030,” Mr Bailey said.
“We’re on a renewables roll and 2017 is looking bright for Queensland, the solar state!”
Construction of the Kidston Solar Farm will begin in early 2017. The project’s 50 megawatt first Stage is expected to be completed by late 2017, with the additional 270 megawatt stage two due to be completed in early 2020, and the hydro facility in 2021.