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Work starts on $126m energy project in Far North Queensland

Genex Solar Project ceremony
Genex Solar Project ceremony

Work has begun on a $126 million renewable energy project in Far North Queensland. The head contractor will soon collect employment enquiries.

Early construction recently began on Genex Power’s Kidston Solar Project, 270km northwest of Townsville.

The first solar farm to begin construction under the State Government’s Solar 150 Program is praised for showing investor confidence in regional Queensland and the Sunshine State’s renewable credentials.

“Once constructed, the project will have the highest capacity factor of all solar projects in Australia, a testament to the strong solar resource in the Sunshine State,” Genex Power managing director Michael Addison says.

“In addition to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the strong support Genex has received from the Queensland State Government in the approvals process and the Solar 150 Program has underpinned the successful development of the project.”

UGL previously won the engineering, construction and procurement tender for the first phase, and will build a solar farm with a capacity of 50 megawatts (MW), producing about 145,000MWh each year and powering up to 26,484 homes.

No jobs are advertised yet, but they will be listed here: ugllimited.com/Job/Search?IsHidden=False&IsPostBack=True&Keyword=&ContentId=416&HideDiscipline=False&Discipline=&JobNumber=&Country=&State=Queensland&Region=&PageSize=10&PageIndex=1&Country=&Region=&State=&SortColumn=&SortDirection=ASC

Genex is collecting expressions of interest and encourages locals to apply here: genexpower.com.au/employment–community-participation.html

Addison reveals the first-stage will help accelerate upcoming phases of the project.

“The successful deployment of the stage 1 solar project at Kidston will now enable Genex to fast track development of the stage 2 expansion and, importantly, the 250MW pumped storage project at Kidston,” he says.

Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke echoes this view.

“The solar farm is just the first stage. The second stage includes an additional 270 megawatts of capacity as well as a 1500 megawatt-hour hydro storage facility,” she says.

State Energy Minister Mark Bailey praises the project’s repurposing of the former Kidston Gold Mine.

“The Kidston Solar Project is a $126 million dollar revival of a gold mine for the north’s economy and is symbolic of the transition occurring in the energy market,” he says.

“A construction crew of some 100 workers will erect and wire some 537,000 photovoltaic solar panels which, when complete, will pump up to 50 megawatts of renewable energy into North Queensland’s electricity grid.

“This project is yet another example of how the State Government has created the right investment climate and confidence for a renewable energy industry while stabilising electricity prices for households,” he said.

“The State Government continues to support a range of solar projects across the regions, including Kidston, which will take us to the 2030 target. We’re committed to transitioning to a clean energy future responsibly which will see Queensland’s energy system powered by a mix of renewables, gas and traditional baseload generation.”

A renewable energy boom is sweeping across Queensland with more than a gigawatt of privately funded projects delivering more than $2 billion of new investment to Queensland and more than 1900 direct jobs, predominantly in regional areas.

The Kidston Solar Farm is expected to be complete and connected to the electicity grid in early 2018.

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