Construction News

Mon August 02 2021

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Motts team to help turn gold mine into hydro plant

21 Jun Mott MacDonald and GHD have been awarded the engineering services contract for a project that will covert a disused gold mine into a hydroelectric power facility.

The 250MW Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project – believed to be a world-first – is being carried out by a joint venture of McConnell Dowell and John Holland Group on behalf of owner Genex Power.

The scheme is designed to strengthen the power system in North Queensland, Australia, as part of a renewable energy hub that includes 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.

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It requires the conversion of two existing mine pits into reservoirs. The work 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.”

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