MP sights bill re­lief in power plan

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­DREW BACKHOUSE

THE sec­ond stage of a ma­jor North Queens­land so­lar and hy­dro- elec­tric project needs im­me­di­ate fund­ing in or­der to drive down elec­tric­ity prices and cre­ate jobs, says Her­bert MP Cathy O’Toole.

Genex Power, which has a 50 megawatt so­lar project at Kid­ston, about 270km north­west of Townsville, is plan­ning a sec­ond phase with the po­ten­tial to pro­duce 270MW.

Last week, Genex an­nounced it had ap­proval from the North­ern Aus­tralia In­fra­struc­ture Fa­cil­ity to move to the full due dili­gence phase for its stage two so­lar and hy­dro pumped stor­age pro­jects.

The move made the project a fron­trun­ner to re­ceive a con­ces­sional loan from the $ 5 bil­lion Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive, which aims to en­cour­age in­fra­struc­ture that ben­e­fits North­ern Aus­tralia.

Ms O’Toole said she wel­comed the an­nounce­ment but im­me­di­ate ac­tion was needed.

“NAIF has been around for two years and there have been no pro­jects,” she said.

“This project ( Genex) would put down­ward pres­sure on elec­tric­ity prices which is a huge im­post on small busi­ness. “It would also cre­ate jobs. “The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment needs to fund this project and keep the mo­men­tum be­hind it.

“It’s tak­ing so long and there’s al­ways some­thing else to be done. It’s a great project.”

Genex ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Si­mon Kid­ston said 88 peo­ple were al­ready on site for the con­struc­tion of stage one. He said 500 con­struc­tion jobs would be cre­ated for stage two.

Her­bert MP Cathy O'Toole.

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