Queensland backs Barcaldine as new renewables powerhouse

SAPS solar, barcaldine renewable energy hub

The sunny central-west could soon be supplying more power to Queensland homes and businesses with the Palaszczuk Government investing $300,000 towards the development of the Barcaldine Renewable Energy Hub.

Studies into the hub’s development will be conducted by the government’s Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board in partnership with leading renewable energy company Sunshot Energy.

Treasurer and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the proposed hub, which would feature a new solar farm, has the potential to turbo-charge economic growth in the region.

“Figures provided by Sunshot indicate the Barcaldine Renewable Energy Hub could create 200 local jobs and attract up to $500 million of new investment to the central-west,” Mr Dick said.

“It would also help put further downward pressure on power prices while strengthening our state’s push towards a cleaner energy future.

“We’re eager to continue harnessing Queensland’s natural advantages by investing in more large-scale renewable energy projects.

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“With the support of local councils, all of which are represented on our Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD), we’ll now investigate the proposed hub and how it can be best delivered for Queensland.”

Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said Queensland was undergoing a renewable energy revolution with $6.6 billion invested in or committed to large scale renewable energy projects under the Palaszczuk Government.

“Renewable energy projects have brought thousands of construction jobs to regional Queensland,” Dr Lynham said.  

“Our new publicly-owned generator CleanCo will also continue to drive renewables with its remit to bring on another 1000 megawatts of renewable generation over the next five years.”

Other renewable initiatives to be analysed as part of the Barcaldine Renewable Energy Hub include construction of a biosteam turbine generator and a 50-megawatt commercial battery for storage.

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Longreach Regional Council Mayor and RAPAD Chair Tony Rayner said the board fully supported the development of inexpensive renewable energy initiatives in the region.

“One of RAPAD’s guiding principles is exploring opportunities where inexpensive local renewable energy can become a key enabler for the region’s economic development,” Cr Rayner said.

“This is being backed at a local level too, with Barcaldine Regional Council committing $100,000 towards the proposal.”

Barcaldine Regional Council Mayor Sean Dillon said Barcaldine’s competitiveness for renewable energy and status as a central-northern transport hub provided an outstanding foundation on which to deliver the hub.

“This project is more than building wind and solar farms – it’s about using this green power to attract new businesses, investment and jobs into the region,” Cr Dillon said.

Mr Dick said maximising Queensland’s unique resources mix was critical to the state’s post-COVID recovery.

“Queensland is blessed with a blend of natural resources unlike anywhere in the world,” he said.

“The time is right to take advantage of this to drive a new era of investment and growth.”