WORK has officially started at a major new hydro project in Far North Queensland, tipped to secure the state's energy system with a reliable supply of dispatchable power.
The 250 MW / 2000 MWh Kidston pumped storage hydro project, 270 km northwest of Townsville, is expected to create more than 500 jobs during construction and 30 ongoing jobs.
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the Kidston pumped hydro project will deliver eight hours of energy storage daily when it starts operating from 2024.
"The project has Coalition Government support through a $610 million loan from the NAIF, in addition to a $47 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)," Mr Pitt said.
"The project will transform the old Kidston gold mine into a major energy storage project which will help stabilise energy supplies in Queensland and keep energy prices as low as possible."
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said breaking ground on a new reliable pumped hydro project in northern Queensland is welcome news, and a key opportunity to drive affordable, reliable power for households and businesses in Queensland
"The Kidston pumped hydro project will deliver regional jobs and create a long-term dispatchable supply for north Queensland," Minister Taylor said.
"This is critically important for large manufacturers and customers in regional Queensland who rely on affordable, firm energy to grow their business and employ more Australians."
Townsville-based Queensland Senator Susan McDonald represented the Government at a sod- turning event for the Kidston project.
"The Kidston Project is the NAIF's biggest investment so far, and underlines the Australian Government commitment for NAIF to support development in northern Australia," Ms McDonald.
The Kidston pumped hydro project includes a 186 kilometre transmission line to connect the project to the national grid, which is being funded by the Queensland Government.