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Genex Power says it has secured the final pieces of a $777 million financing package that will allow the Kidston pumped storage hydro project to proceed.

And it has flagged an April start for construction activities at the North Queensland site.

It comes through the launch of a fully underwritten capital raising for $90 million, which will allow Genex to proceed with the construction and operation of the project on a fully owned basis.

The company also revealed it had received a conditional offer for grant funding up to $47 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

“We are now in the final stages of closing out the financing and commencing construction and look forward to updating the market as we complete these milestones over the coming weeks,” chief executive officer James Harding said.

The energy company had been working with a preferred equity partner to close out the project financing activities, but says it was unable to reach satisfactory commercial terms and will now progress the project to financial close on a 100 per cent-owned basis.

The project financing includes a total investment by Genex of $120 million ($100 million equity subscription and $20 million shareholder loan for contingency), which will be funded from the proceeds of the capital raising well as a share subscription agreement with J-POWER and existing cash.

The project has attracted NAIF debt funding of $610 million as well as the ARENA grant of $47 million. ARENA has also agreed to convert an existing $9 million development funding agreement into a non-recoupable grant.

Genex said it was required to hold an EGM to approve the J-POWER share issuance, pushing expected financial close back to mid-May 2021, with construction activities planned to commence ahead of this in late April 2021.

The company recently announced a deal with Powerlink Queensland to cover a further $258 million in work to connect the Kidston project to the grid.

It says building the electricity infrastructure together with the pumped hydro project will deliver more than 800 new jobs in North Queensland.

Located at the former Kidston gold mine, the 250MW/2000 MWh PHES project will make use of two existing mining pits.

During peak power demand periods, water will be released from the upper to the lower reservoir, passing through reversible turbines. During off-peak periods and when the sun is abundant, water will be pumped back from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir using electricity imported from the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Genex already operates a 50 MW solar farm and has plans for a wind farm at the site.