Project and 1000 jobs hang by a powerline
A $1 BILLION renewable energy project near Townsville creating up to 1000 construction jobs is set to proceed pending approval by the State Government of a 180km transmission line.
Proponents Genex Power yesterday revealed the high-voltage line, which needs to be built between Kidston and Mount Fox in North Queensland, is the "final piece of the puzzle" in what looks to be an environmental and engineering masterpiece.
"If this last tile falls now, it will be very timely and allow us to move to financial close," Genex Power CEO James Harding said.
Genex has already developed a 50MW solar farm at Kidston, relying on an existing 132KV line to transmit its power into the electricity grid.
Last month, the Federal Government approved a $610 million loan to develop its next stage of a 250MW pumped-storage hydro scheme based on the pits of what was once Australia's largest gold mine at Kidston.
Genex also plans a much larger solar farm, to be built during the same construction period as the hydro scheme, and is also assessing a 150MW wind farm.
Mr Harding said, together with the new transmission line, the projects would create more than 1000 direct jobs.
"We expect to reach financial close on this (hydro) project by the end of this year and for construction to start very soon after," he said. "The funding is largely in place."
Mr Harding said the second-stage solar project of 165MW was being sized to provide the power to run one of the hydro scheme's 125MW-capacity turbines.
Federal Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan, who toured the site yesterday, encouraged the State Government to make its decision on the transmission line quickly.
He said the hydro project was the biggest investment by the Federal Government's Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to date.
"This project will deliver two things that North Queensland really needs - it will deliver jobs and it's going to deliver secure and affordable power supplies," he said.