Genex Power announced on Thursday it had reached finance document contractual close after securing $660 million in external financing for the 250 MW/2 GWh pumped hydroelectric energy storage (PHES) facility to be built alongside the existing 50 MW Kidston Solar Farm in far north Queensland.
Sydney-based developer Genex had already secured a $610 million debt facility from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) and a $47 million project grant funding agreement from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the EPC contractors McConnell Dowell Constructors and John Holland Group joint venture.
The final piece of the financing puzzle was a $3 million variation deed to the loan note subscription agreement it secured from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
The financing package, in conjunction with Genex’s fully underwritten fundraising of $115 million in late March, means the project is now fully funded and the company said construction is set to commence this month.
“Following execution of the construction documentation for the Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project, I am delighted that we have now executed all outstanding finance documents and, in doing so, secured all of the funding required to construct the Project,” Genex CEO James Harding said.
“We look forward to updating the market when we commence construction at the Kidston site toward the end of this month.”
The PHES facility, to be built at the site of the abandoned Kidston Gold Mine, is part of the Kidston Clean Energy Hub which comprises the already operational 50 MW solar farm. Genex has declared there is the potential for further multi-stage wind and solar projects.
The 250 MW PHES facility was initially scheduled to reach financial close in 2019 but has struck some roadblocks but is now on track to become the first pumped hydro plant to be built in Australia in almost 40 years, and the first to be used specifically to support the integration of variable renewable energy generation from solar and wind.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project would provide reliable, dispatchable and affordable renewable energy to the grid.
“This is a landmark project for all involved and paves the way for renewables to play a larger role in Australia’s electricity grid,” he said.
“Genex will be delivering the first pumped hydro project in Australia since 1984 and the first to be used solely for energy storage and generation rather than water management.”
NAIF CEO Chris Wade said he was delighted the “transformational” project had reached contractual close.
“I congratulate the Genex team for successfully bringing together the parties required to develop this project and we look forward to continuing our partnership as they work towards construction and delivering the significant economic and employment benefits to the region,” he said.
The project is part of more than 400 MW of renewable energy and storage projects Genex has in development.
The 50 MW Jemalong Solar Project in New South Wales was energised in early December and commissioning is now underway. Genex is also developing a 50 MW/75 MWh standalone battery energy storage system at Bouldercombe in Queensland.