The State Government has committed $145 million for the creation of three Queensland Renewable Energy Zones located in southern, central and northern Queensland.
“With the right support from governments, these zones will help connect new renewable energy to our power network, and attract industries wanting new energy to a series of connected commercial and industrial power hubs across the state,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
The government Unite and Recover plan outlines its support for the QREZs as involving strategic network investments, streamlining development of
new renewable energy projects and matching industrial energy demand with cheap renewable energy.
In her CEDA ‘State of the State’ speech today, Ms Palaszczuk said that North Queensland held the potential for up to five renewable energy zones from Cairns down to Townsville and west to Barcaldine.
“The North Queensland corridor has significant potential for demand from new economy minerals including CopperString 2.0, minerals processing, manufacturing and hydrogen,” she said.
“Achieving internationally competitive energy prices in the North West Minerals Province would mean 3,500 more jobs in North Queensland – delivering the minerals needed globally for batteries, renewables and electronics.
“In Central Queensland – there’s potential for projects in the Fitzroy and Wide Bay renewable energy zones. These would make our aluminium and smelting industries more competitive with strong potential as well for hydrogen development.
“In the South West the Darling Downs renewable energy zone will meet demand from agricultural production and has the potential to help supply New South Wales.
“These renewable energy zones will support Powerlink to invest further funding and CleanCo to increase their publicly owned renewable generation capacity to deliver energy security.
“I don’t want to just deliver renewable energy zones – I want to deliver industrial zones and hydrogen hubs – because that means more secure full-time manufacturing jobs.”
The Queensland Conservation Council is among those to welcome the move, saying it would provide the plans and infrastructure to make possible the vision of Queensland as a renewable superpower.
“We congratulate Premier Palaszczuk for getting behind clean energy, with this major boost to deliver jobs and economic benefits for regional Queensland, while also reducing climate pollution,” director Louise Matthiesson said.
“Renewable Energy Zones will accelerate and facilitate even greater long-term benefits by providing a framework for new renewable energy projects to connect to the grid, supporting local jobs, attracting investment and securing a steady pipeline of renewable energy projects in key regional hubs.”
Ms Matthiesson said the Queensland Government had demonstrated leadership by taking this first step.
“We call on the Commonwealth Government to negotiate a similar deal to its one with the NSW Government that has enabled NSW Renewable Energy Zones to progress,” she said.
“We hope there is a bipartisan approach in Queensland in this pre-election period to ensure that a Queensland/Commonwealth energy deal can be reached that supports this initiative today.”