Genex Power’s $1.05 billion Kidston hydro and solar project has received critical infrastructure status from the State Government to reduce “red tape” road blocks and give the project greater certainty.
The first stage of the north Queensland project, a 50MW solar farm featuring 540,000 solar panels, is already under construction – with solar panels going up at a rate of 24,000 a week.
That work has created 88 jobs out of an expected total of 500 construction jobs and 18 operational positions for the wider project.
State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said prescribed project powers and critical infrastructure status allowed Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General to employ special powers to help deliver a project and ensure timely approvals.
“This is about supporting a project that will help deliver a reliable renewable energy source and support hundreds of jobs,” Dr Lynham said.
“It will help deliver energy stability and contribute to our commitments to deliver more renewable energy over the coming years.”
Kidston’s 50MW first stage is expected to be completed by late this year, the additional 270MW stage two is due to be completed in early 2020, and the 250MW hydro-electric power station in 2021.
Genex managing director Michael Addison said the declaration of the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub as a prescribed project and the more significant subset of critical infrastructure would enable Genex to fast track the development of its Stage 2 project.
“The company has previously benefited from being declared a prescribed project, which facilitated rapid approvals in relation to Genex’s 50MW solar farm and enabled the company to reach early financial close, with targeted revenue in Q4 this year,” he said.
“The Queensland Government’s recent announcement that it intends to commit $150 million to develop a 275kV transmission line in northern Queensland, which incorporates Genex’s Stage 2 projects, has the potential to significantly de-risk these projects and enable Genex to accelerate its development plans.
“Genex is now progressing energy offtake and project funding arrangements as it prepares to commence construction of its Stage 2 projects in 2018.”