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Construction has kicked off at the Pinkenba Renewable Energy Training Facility (RETF), providing a $23 million boost to Queensland’s renewable energy workforce amid the growing interest in renewable energy and hydrogen.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said, “Queensland’s renewables industry is already worth $8.5 billion – this is a vital investment in Queensland’s future and will help us meet our target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

“We need facilities like this now, so trainees and apprentices can develop the skills they need to ensure Queensland is ready to go as interest in and the need for renewable energy and hydrogen worldwide soars.

“That’s why we put investing in skills at the heart of our $14.5 billion COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.

“With our abundance of solar and wind, Queensland is the ideal candidate to produce hydrogen for domestic and international use.”

Queensland Minister for Training and Skills Development, Di Farmer, said the facility will attract new workers to the industry as well as meet demand from existing apprentices and tradespeople.

“The facility will provide pre-trade, apprenticeship and post trade courses for up to 300 students at a time and support 40 teaching positions,” Ms Farmer said.

“We know that if you get the right training you’re more likely to get the right job, and this is absolutely vital when it comes to the growing hydrogen industry – we need Queenslanders skilled up and ready to take full advantage of the hydrogen boom.

“RETF will offer training in electrotechnology and renewable energy through classroom learning and in-field training and will be the only Queensland training facility to provide a Certificate IV – Electrical in Renewable Energy qualification.

“In addition to training apprentices, the facility will assist licensed electricians to upgrade their skills to install, operate and manage solar and other renewable energy equipment safely.”

Ms Farmer said more than 40 jobs will also be created during the RETF’s construction.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to achieving 50 per cent of renewables by 2030 and this facility is another step – a vital investment – to help us reach this target,” Ms Farmer said.

“Across Queensland, more than $50 million is being invested in training facilities that will provide workers with skills to enter into the growing renewable energy and hydrogen industry.”

The RETF will feature a 17m high wind turbine, 20m high climbing tower, a 30m telecommunications tower and a 54kW single axis tracking solar system, and will be constructed according to world’s best practice in electrical, solar renewable energy and telecommunications training.

Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said Queenslanders knew how to create export industries and this training would help Queensland become a renewable hydrogen superpower.

“Our emerging renewable hydrogen industry is reliant on clean energy to create a zero carbon product for both export and local industry including transport,” Mr de Brenni said.

“The last time Queensland embarked on the creation of a new energy industry, LNG supported around 15,000 new jobs, giving an indication of the demand we are poised to create for additional high skilled jobs in renewables. 

“By 2030 Queenslanders will demand several thousand megawatts of new renewable energy on top of existing traditional generation which means an energy construction jobs boom is about to start.”

The Pinkenba facility will be operated by Electro Group Training, which will be responsible for its design and construction by June 2022.

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