Australian developer Genex Power Ltd. has selected a joint venture that includes McConnell Dowell Constructors and Downer EDI Ltd. as its preferred engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the Kidston pumped storage plant.
McConnell Dowell said it was selected specifically for its experience in tunneling and excavation projects in the Asian Pacific, while Downer was chosen for its work in mechanical, electrical and civil engineering.
“As a combined force, the joint venture has a complementary skill set and a long track record of delivering hydro projects around the world, a strong balance sheet and proven project delivery capabilities — factors which are likely to materially contribute to the bankability and successful implementation,” Genex managing director Michael Addison said.
The contractors are expected to open tendering for the plant’s electro-mechanical equipment — including reversible Francis-type turbines — in November.
The 250 MW pumped storage component is half of what Genex is calling Kidston “Stage 2.” Also included is a 270 MW solar installation.
Genex received approval from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to continue to the full due diligence phase for the project in July.
Power and water consulting firm Entura determined 250 MW would be the optimal capacity for the pumped storage component, following a technical feasibility study completed in November. Previous statements indicated Genex had mulled a capacity as high as 450 MW.
Company officials told Australian news outlets that they were still working to finalize financing for what is expected to be about a 330 million Australian dollar ($257.6 million) facility. Genex said it hopes to break ground next year, after which time construction will last about 30 months.
Kidston was declared to be a critical infrastructure project under Queensland’s State Development and Public Works Organisational Act of 1971 in June.
The project was also named by the Australian government last week as an important component of its National Energy Guarantee, which would use pumped storage plants like Kidston to help meet new standards for renewable baseload power capacity.