Australia’s Genex Power has started a feasibility study to set up a 150-megawatt solar project to be located next to a Queensland gold mine.
The A$300 million (US216 million) Kidston Solar Project at Kidston will be built on top of the existing Kidston mine tailings storage facility. It will be located next to Genex’s proposed Kidston Pumped Storage Project, a large-scale integrated renewable energy generator with a pumped storage facility.
“The development at the Kidston site will offer fringe of grid renewable energy generation and storage in far north Queensland, which is currently a net energy importer,” Genex said. “When developed, Genex believes the integrated scheme will open up a large part of Northern Queensland to future development, with Kidston becoming a significant centralised energy hub.”
Genex said the solar plant could have an annual capacity factor of around 26-27% using fixed-angle solar panels, with 99% of this energy being produced during higher power demand periods.
“This capacity factor is currently amongst the highest in the country. The potential to further increase the capacity factor using a solar tracking system will also be investigated as part of the project feasibility study,” managing director Michael Addison said. “Whilst our Kidston pumped storage project remains our principal focus, the tailings storage facility at the Kidston site presents itself as an obvious and ideal solar generation platform.”
The project will proceed only if power-purchase agreements with local utilities are agreed.