Genex thinks it’s close to achieving the ‘holy grail’ of renewable energy
Link copied to
Renewable energy player Genex Power says if it can get its Queensland wind project off the ground it might have the “holy grail” of renewables in Australia.
The $88 million company (ASX:GNX) has already completed — and is generating cash — from stage one of its Kidston Renewable Energy Hub in far north Queensland — a 50 megawatt (MW) solar project.
Genex is aiming to achieve funding for stage two — a 250MW pumped storage hydro project and expansion of the solar project to 270MW — by the end of this year.
Pumped storage hydro is basically a giant water battery that stores electricity. The operation stores energy in the form of water in an upper reservoir, pumped from another reservoir at a lower elevation.
Stage three will be a 150MW wind project.
Large-scale wind and solar projects pushed renewable investment in Australia up 150 per cent to a record $US9 billion in 2017, according to Clean Energy Australia’s anual report released yesterday.
“For the first time ever, wind and hydro generation contributed an almost identical amount of electricity – approximately 5.7 per cent each – to total national electricity generation during the year, the industry body reported.
In total, 17 per cent of electricity generation in Australia came from renewable sources in 2017. About 700MW of renewable projects were completed and began generation.
Here’s a breakdown of the different types of renewable energy used in Australia last year:
Queensland has a ‘very good wind resource’
“We’re lucky that this particular part of Queensland has a very good wind resource,” executive director Simon Kidston told investors at the Resources Rising Stars conference in Queensland’s Gold Coast.
“About 10km from our site we’ve secured a 21km ridge line which we’re currently testing for the suitability to develop a wind farm, and if that wind resource proves up – and the anecdotal evidence is extremely strong that it will do so – we will achieve the holy grail of renewables.
“If the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing we can utilise the hydro pumped storage assets to generate 24/7 renewable energy.”
There is rapidly growing demand for solutions for grid-scale energy storage, including the much-hyped vanadium redox flow batteries.
But Mr Kidston says pumped hydro storage is a much better option because it is a proven technology and much cheaper.
“What the market is now crying out for is low-cost energy storage,” he said.
“Of course there are many ways to store energy but the lowest cost and the mature technology for grid-scale energy storage is pumped storage hydro.”
Genex has received government approval to expand its solar project and expects to finalise a long-term off-take (or future sales) deal with a “major energy utility” in the next couple of months.