Genex Power has obtained $516 million in concessional finance from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for its state-of-the-art solar and pumped hydro storage project in north Queensland.
The project will be the first of its scale to combine solar and pumped hydro and will be installed in the former Kidston gold mine. Water will be stored in disused pits and will provide approximately 250MW of capacity and up to eight hours storage. A report published on RenewEconomy’s website also stated that the project will be combined with up to 270MW of large-scale solar, on top of the 50MW that was already constructed, and potentially an additional of 150MW of wind. All in all, it will create a large-scale renewable energy hub that is fully dispatchable.
The $516 million loan from NAIF is for a term of 20 years at concessional interest rates and will account for the bulk of the project debt funding. Executive Director Simon Kidston told RenewEconomy, “It’s a massive milestone. It shows the federal government is behind the project and wants to get it done. So it’s pretty awesome.”
Kidston also explained how the two companies would work together for the said project. The article mentioned, “The facility is subset to a range of conditions, including contracting for the solar and storage plant. Although the solar and storage would be co-located, the contracts would be quite separate. One would be written for the output of the solar plant, while another would be written for the use of the pumped hydro. Essentially, this would go to another generator or retailer, who would use the storage as they saw fit – possibly selling into peaks, offering caps, or grid security.”
On the other hand, the CEO at NAIF, Laurie Walker, stated that the “indication of support” will aid Genex to drive its discussions with other project counterparties. In a statement, Walker said, “This is a demonstration of how NAIF can work with stakeholders to help them understand how its concessional financing can support the development of a project which has the potential to provide substantial benefits to Northern Australia.”
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