Locale : Global (English)

18 June 2021

Mott MacDonald and GHD support world first conversion of gold mine into hydroelectric power facility

Mott MacDonald and GHD have been appointed to deliver engineering services for the design of the 250MW Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project, for the McConnell Dowell, John Holland Group joint venture.

In a world-first, project owner Genex Power, Australia’s leading renewable energy and storage company, will convert a disused gold mine into a pumped storage hydroelectric power facility, to strengthen the power system in North Queensland as part of their renewable energy hub, including up to 320MW from solar and 150MW from wind.

The project will be the first pumped hydro plant to be built in Australia since 1984, and the first to be used specifically to support the integration of variable renewable energy generation and grid strengthening.

The project requires the conversion of two existing mine pits into reservoirs. It involves the construction of significant underground infrastructure including a large powerhouse cavern and waterway shafts and tunnels to allow the transfer of water between the upper and lower reservoirs to generate power when solar and wind generation is not available and return water back to the upper reservoir when there is an abundance of renewable power.

David Johnson, regional managing director for Asia Pacific, New Zealand and Australia, Mott MacDonald said: “Together with our design partner GHD, we are proud to be contributing to this landmark project that has the potential to be a real game changer for the industry and the region. By leveraging our global expertise in pumped hydro and our local knowledge and know-how, this project will demonstrate what is possible and help pave the way for future innovative pumped hydro projects both domestically and globally.

It’s an incredibly exciting time and a great opportunity to demonstrate the potential of smarter solutions to enhance grid stability, energy security and importantly deliver the clean energy solutions urgently needed to decarbonise our future.”

Stephen Trainor, GHD director commented: “GHD is thrilled to be part of leading Australia’s energy transition and we look forward to the continuation of our proven collaborative relationship with our partner Mott MacDonald in the delivery of this important project for the local communities and Australia.”

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