About the Queensland renewable energy zones
The Queensland Government is investing $145 million to establish 3 renewable energy zone corridors across the state. Spanning from Far North Queensland to the Darling Downs west of Brisbane, this investment will:
- grow Queensland’s position as an investment destination
- create more jobs as part of our COVID-19 road to recovery blueprint.
Contribution to COVID-19 economic recovery
Strengthening Queensland’s industries is a critical part of the COVID-19 economic recovery.
Staged and coordinated clean energy infrastructure investments will attract new projects to these zones. More renewable energy is expected to place downward pressure on prices, boosting local industries and bringing down prices for consumers.
The zones offer a combined long-term potential for 16,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable capacity. They represent billions of dollars of investment in new projects and thousands of new jobs, and will progress Queensland towards its 50% renewable energy target by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
What is a renewable energy zone?
A renewable energy zone brings together a balanced mix of generation - including storage, solar and wind - to deliver reliable electricity, at lower total system cost with fewer emissions than traditional generators.
Generators within a renewable energy zone may share a common connection to the National Electricity Market, achieving economies of scale.
A renewable energy zone involves the coordinated development of infrastructure (network, generation and sometimes load) in a geographic area with:
- good quality renewable resources
- suitable topography
- land available to support the connection of renewable projects.
A renewable energy zone can also be co-located with emerging or existing industry for access to cheaper clean energy.
Location of Queensland renewable energy zones (QREZ)
The Southern, Central and Northern QREZ corridors all have:
- high-quality renewable energy resources such as wind and solar
- existing and committed renewable energy projects
- existing or planned network infrastructure to connect clean energy to the National Electricity Market.
- The Southern QREZ has driven the majority of renewables investment in the state since 2016, benefiting from strong network infrastructure that can accommodate large amounts of renewable capacity, and close proximity to South-East Queensland demand.
- The Southern QREZ includes the Darling Downs renewable energy zone identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in its final 2020 Integrated System Plan.
- This area has the potential for nearly 4000MW of renewable capacity.
- The Southern QREZ will offer diversification opportunities for the agricultural sector (cotton and beef) and the mining and resource sector, which are already operational in this region.
- There will also be opportunities to attract new industries into the region that capitalise on existing regional strengths.
- Central Queensland boasts strong network infrastructure, wind and solar resources, and a large manufacturing and industrial demand profile.
- The Central QREZ includes the Fitzroy and Wide Bay renewable energy zones identified by the AEMO.
- These areas have the combined potential for nearly 4200MW of renewable capacity.
- The Central QREZ will build on existing regional strengths to capitalise on opportunities in industries such as new economy minerals extraction and processing, minerals recycling and agricultural equipment manufacturing.
- Northern Queensland (above Rockhampton) has significant potential for long-term renewable energy development with some of the strongest wind and solar resources in the state and country.
- The Northern QREZ contains 5 renewable energy zones above Rockhampton identified by the AEMO including Isaac, Barcaldine, North Queensland, North Queensland Clean Energy Hub and Far North Queensland.
- According to the AEMO, these areas have the combined long-term potential for nearly 7900MW of renewable capacity.
- The Northern QREZ will build on existing regional strengths to capitalise on opportunities in industries such as new economy minerals extraction and processing, hydrogen production and export, biofuels, and food processing and manufacturing.
Last updated 10 September 2020