Inspire : Inspire Winter 2016
59 TECHNICAL ARTICLES GOLDEN RAYS In February this year, Genex was granted DA approval for its planned $300 million, 150 MW solar PV project, co-located with the pumped hydro project and sitting atop a former tailings storage site. It is just west of the upper reservoir, and is planned to be the country’s biggest, providing enough energy to supply as many as 51,000 households. As with the hydro project, the geography is enormously favourable. According to a Bureau of Meteorology survey in 2009, the site is within a region featuring the highest solar radiation levels in the country. And as with the hydro scheme, construction would benefit from onsite accommodation once used by gold miners. The 300ha site also benefits from being located on flat ground, 20m above the natural ground level. A feasibility study managed by AECOM was launched in October. “The first phase will be able to generate power relying on the existing transmission line between our site and Townsville,” Genex Managing Director Michael Addison explains of the initial, $100 million, 50MW stage, which will make use of the pumped hydro’s 275kV line. The first stage of the solar project is scheduled to be built this year. “The second phase of it will require a new transmission line to be built and that transmission line will be the one that’s built in conjunction with the hydro electric scheme,” Addison says. “And that’ll go principally from our site to the main powerlink backbone transmission line that runs down the east coast.” This will be a new 175 kilovolt double-circuit transmission line, about 185km in length. When everything is built, the integrated solar farm and pump hydro will be a world first, according to the company.
Inspire Summer 15-16