The Kidston Pumped Hydro Energy Project, due to commence operations in 2025, is a world-first because it reuses two decommissioned gold mining pits to store the water used to generate the hydroelectric power. The project offers eight hours of rapid response hydro-generated power by releasing water from the upper reservoir via a shaft where it drives the twin turbines on its way to the lower reservoir. During the day, when excess renewable power is available, water is pumped back to the upper dam, ready to be reused again.
Sustainable energy projects such as Kidston are pivotal for Australia to achieve its 2050 net zero target. State Minister for Energy and Clean Economy Jobs Mick de Brenni said the clean energy hub is contributing to the creation of 900 direct jobs, and will help Queensland to achieve its renewable energy targets of 70% by 2032 and 80% by 2035. “Once operational, Kidston Pumped Hydro will generate enough energy to power towns with the combined population of Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton (400,000 people) for eight hours each and every day,” he said.
Holcim has prioritised sustainability on the project by using 100% recycled aggregates in all supplied concrete used for both surface works and underground in the 2 km access tunnel to the pumphouse. Mining spoil waste has been crushed, screened and processed on site too, replacing the need for quarry extraction and contributing to a circular economy. The by-product of the crushing operations has also been repurposed for use in stabilised sand capping material used on the upper dam of the project.
“We are very proud to be a key delivery partner for such a significant and transformative sustainable energy project here in North Queensland. In such a remote location, often affected by challenging weather conditions, the site team has done a fantastic job thus far to deliver over 100,000 cubic metres of high quality concrete, whilst maintaining an impressive safety record with zero Lost Time Injuries” said Alex Graff, National Contracts Manager, Holcim Australia.