The Queensland Government has committed $145 million for the creation of three Queensland Renewable Energy Zones located in southern, central and northern Queensland.
The funding forms part of $200 million worth of initiatives from the Queensland Government to aid economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said that economies around the world had been impacted by the global pandemic but it was because of Queensland’s strong health response that the state was well positioned to move to the next stage of delivering our economic recovery plan.
“Queensland’s regions have told us they see energy as a key part of diversifying their economies and attracting new industry. Energy means jobs,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“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.
“Our gas industry is also a vital part of our state’s energy and resources future, that’s why we’re committing $5 million for a concept study into the Bowen Basin pipeline to build productive infrastructure connecting high quality gas reserves to the east coast and export gas market.
“If progressed, a pipeline could potentially create more than 1000 construction jobs and open up new reserves of gas for domestic and export use.”
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton welcomed the commitment to unlock the REZs.
“Grid congestion is the biggest underlying challenge facing new investment in large-scale renewable energy in Queensland,” Mr Thornton said.
“Accelerating construction and expansion of the transmission network will unlock new private sector investment in large-scale renewable energy.”
The Clean Energy Council said REZs provide much needed additional electricity transmission infrastructure in designated areas, where it can be carefully planned in consultation with the community and support new renewable energy investment in an efficient way that benefits consumers and communities.
In addition to network investment, other initiatives announced as part of the Queensland REZs include streamlining the development of new renewable energy projects, support for the deployment of new energy storage, and work to attract new industries to these zones.
“Queensland has among the best renewable energy resources in Australia and stand-out potential to become a clean energy superpower leveraging its low-cost renewable electricity, strong skills base and trade links with southern states and Asia,” Mr Thornton said.
The Clean Energy Council said around 5,500MW of large-scale renewable energy generation is needed between now and 2030 to meet Queensland’s target of 50 per cent renewable energy, which could attract almost $10 billion of private investment and create more than 10,000 jobs.
“Investors stand at the ready, with around 17,000MW of new large-scale renewable energy projects having already secured planning approvals if the regulatory and market conditions are right,” Mr Thornton said.