The Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project (250MW) is located in Northern Queensland on the site of the historical Kidston Gold Mine. The site is located 270km north west of Townsville near the township of Georgetown.
The Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project will consist of an upper and lower reservoir, in addition to an adjacent balancing storage pit. The upper storage reservoir will be created using a 'turkey's nest' type dam, constructed on the waste rock dump to the north of Eldridge Pit. The lower storage reservoir for the project will be the existing Eldridge Pit. Additionally, the project will also utilize the existing Wises Pit to act as a balancing storage to hold excess water and to mitigate flood risks.
Given the significant potential water head differential that the pits offer, and the vast quantity of water the pits can hold, the project has been designed to support 1,500MWh of continuous power generation in a single generation cycle (250MW of peaking power generation over a 6 hour period). Power generated will be sold directly into the NEM.
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 the 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 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 Pumped Storage Hydro Project (250MW) 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 Kidston 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 (Turkey's Nest)
A lower Reservoir (Eldridge Pit)
A balancing storage (Wises 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 energy market has evolved significantly since the initial inception of the Project. Going forward, it is anticipated that the market will undergo an intense transition period as the generation mix across the National Energy Market (NEM) shifts from traditional fossil fuel generation towards a fast growing proportion of large scale renewable energy generation. There is a critical need for large scale energy storage, at an affordable cost, to balance the penetration of large scale renewable energy generation into the NEM.