$386m energy plan to power renewables in North Queensland

Wind turbines and solar panels (record high)

A new $386 million plan to “unlock a wave of energy projects” in North Queensland has been announced today by the Queensland government.

The Powering North Queensland plan was launched in Townsville this morning by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who was joined by Energy Minister Mark Bailey, Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke, Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart.

The Premier said the State Budget, to be delivered on June 13, would invest $386 million into the plan, which includes $150 million to develop strategic transmission infrastructure to support the construction of renewable energy in northern Queensland.

This investment is expected to create up to 1000 jobs for Powerlink construction of infrastructure, in addition to the 3600 jobs created in the development of the three proposed renewable energy projects along the transmission line.

“Our plan will not only deliver investment and jobs to North Queensland but will also help to secure energy supply and drive down energy costs for consumers,” the Premier said.

“Under the plan, we will deliver a transmission line for renewable energy projects across the region and contribute funding to the proposed hydro-electric power station at Burdekin Falls Dam.

“The $386 million committed in the State Budget is a down payment on future energy security and 5000 jobs for North Queensland.”

A $100 million reinvestment of Stanwell dividends to help fund the proposed hydro-electric power station at Burdekin Falls Dam is included in the plan, as well as a further $100 million equity injection and reinvestment of dividends towards improvement works to ensure that the project continues to meet design standards.

Funding will also go into commissioning a hydro-electric study to assess options for deploying new hydro in the state, including North Queensland.

Ms Palaszczuk said the state’s north had a significant pipeline of committed and proposed energy projects which would bolster generation.

“Since January 2016, North Queensland has seen an unprecedented level of renewable energy investment activity, with more than 830MW of large-scale projects either commencing construction or finalising commercial arrangements,” she said.

“It is estimated these projects will deliver $1.6 billion of infrastructure spending and create more than 1400 jobs.”

The Premier said a new transmission line could help to unlock around 2000 megawatts of wind, pumped hydro and solar projects in North Queensland, which would create 3600 jobs.

“The clean energy hub would connect the 75MW wind farm at Forsayth being developed by Infigen, the 520MW Kidston Hydro and Solar project being developed by Genex and the Kennedy Energy Park, a combination of wind and solar generation with a capacity of 1200MW near Hughenden or other projects in the area.”

Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the 2017-18 Budget initiatives underlined the government’s ongoing commitment to investing in regional communities, renewable energy, and jobs.

“We’re ensuring our government owned corporations are delivering new energy infrastructure and energy security to drive new investments in energy projects and new jobs in regional Queensland,” Mr Pitt said.

”This extensive pipeline of clean energy projects is also opening the door for the region to become a hub for the renewable manufacturing and services industry.

“This plan will power North Queensland’s communities and its industries with energy and jobs for the future and it will help further stabilise electricity prices.”