The Kidston Project

Kidston Hydro Pumped Storage Project - Video

The Kidston Pumped Storage project is located in Northern Queensland on the site of the historical Kidston Gold Mine. The site is situated some 270km north west of Townsville near the township of Georgetown.

The Kidston site has two large adjacent pits which will act as the upper and lower reservoirs for the Pumped Storage Scheme. Given the significant potential water head differential that the pits offer, and the vast quantity of water the pits can hold, the Kidston scheme has been designed to support 1,650 MWh of continuous power generation in a single generation cycle. Power generated will be sold directly into Australia's National Electricity Market.

The Kidston Scheme will have an installed nameplate generation capacity of 330 MW. A scale drawing of the site configuration is shown below. A concrete lined pressure tunnel will connect the upper reservoir to the underground generation powerhouse. A concrete lined tailrace tunnel will, in turn, connect the powerhouse to the lower reservoir. A shaft from surface will connect the underground infrastructure to a surface power control room, which will be connected to a transformer station located on an existing pit bench.

During peak power demand periods water will be released from the upper to the lower reservoir, passing through 3 x 110MW reversible pump/generators acting in generation mode. During off peak periods, water will be pumped back from the lower to the upper reservoir with the pump/generators acting in pumping mode. Initial modelling indicates a change in water level of approximately 8m in the upper reservoir and 44m in the lower reservoir during a full generation cycle, with an average water head of approximately 190m over the course of the cycle.
The Kidston generation site benefits from extensive existing onsite infrastructure and materials, mitigating the need for significant capital expenditure normally associated with the building of a large scale pumped storage hydro electric generation scheme. This includes:
  • An upper reservoir (Wises Pit)  
  • A lower Reservoir (Eldridge Pit) 
  • Significant volumes of good quality water currently in pit  
  • An onsite power distribution substation
  • An existing 132 kV transmission line connecting the site to Powerlink's Ross substation near Townsville 
  • The existing 20,600 ML Copperfield Dam located approximately 18km from the site
  • A water pipeline from the Copperfield Dam directly to the Kidston site
  • Existing water rights to draw up to 4,650ML of water annually from the Copperfield Dam
  • Significant quantities of onsite building materials required for the civil construction process
  • On site accommodation and catering facilities, roads, fencing, diesel storage facilities, electricity and water
The Kidston scheme is a closed loop system, which will involve the transfer of water from the upper reservoir to the lower reservoir This will ensure minimal environmental impact during operation, on what is already a disturbed historical mining site.

The diagram above shows a 3-dimensional scale layout of the underground water conveyance system, the turbine powerhouse, the vertical access and servicing shaft, the busbar galleries and tunnel and the construction access tunnel.

The Copperfield Dam

The Copperfield Dam (also known as the Kidston Dam) was constructed to service the Kidston mine site in the 1980s. The Dam has a capacity of 20,400ML and is built on the Copperfield River which, in turn, connects to the Einasleigh River. The Dam overflows seasonally and discharges approximately 60,000ML of water per year down the Copperfield River. 

Ownership of the Dam transferred to the State upon the closure of the mine. The Dam itself is located approximately 18km south of the Kidston site and is connected to the mine via a gravity fed pipeline. Genex Power owns the pipeline and has the right to draw up to 4,650ML of water from the Dam per annum.
The Copperfield Dam and the existing water rights held by Genex Power will ensure water adequacy for supplementing the Kidston scheme in the event of a prolonged drought event.