Allens advises NAIF on landmark pumped hydro project

Allens has advised Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) on the financing of Genex Power Ltd’s Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro project, Australia’s first pumped hydro plant in 37 years and the first in the world to use abandoned gold mine pits.

NAIF will contribute a loan of up to $610 million to fund the $777 million project, which will use converted mine pits to store energy from the site’s existing 50MW solar farm and a planned 150MW wind farm. ARENA will contribute $47 million to the project, with Genex also contributing $120 million in equity, inclusive of a $25 million equity investment by J-Power in Genex.

Once completed, the 250MW project will have eight hours’ energy storage capacity – enough to power up to 143,000 homes. It is Australia’s first pumped hydro project to be dedicated solely to energy storage and generation rather than water management.

‘We congratulate NAIF on its investment in this landmark project, which represents a key step in Australia’s transition to renewable energy,’ said lead Partner Scott McCoy.

‘As a privately owned pumped hydro storage facility, the project effectively represents a new asset class in Australia. It’s a major milestone in the once-in-a-generation transformation of Australia’s energy industry.

‘NAIF’s financing of the project represents a significant dedication of capital and expertise from the team. We sincerely congratulate the NAIF, Genex and ARENA teams on reaching contractual close on this truly transformational project for the State of Queensland.’

Allens advised on all aspects of the financing, and the transaction builds upon the firm’s strong experience in the pumped hydro space having recently advised Snowy Hydro on its $4 billion 2.0 Expansion Scheme.

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