The Palaszczuk Government will unlock around 350 jobs and more than $370 million in renewable energy infrastructure as part of the state’s first major investment in the Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced her government would invest $40 million to upgrade transmission lines in Far North Queensland, creating 97 jobs for local workers.
The Premier said this would allow Neoen to forge ahead with its $373 million, 157-megawatt Kaban wind farm, creating another 250 jobs for locals.
“Renewables create jobs and put downward pressure on power prices,” the Premier said.
“That’s why backing our renewables sector is an important part of our economic recovery plan.
“We know that projects like this will create jobs and ease cost-of-living pressures for working families.
“Our investment in new transmission line infrastructure today won’t just enable Neoen to forge ahead with their Kaban project – it has potential to leverage hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of new investment in renewable energy in North Queensland in the future.”
To support the Kaban project, Powerlink will upgrade an existing transmission line south of Cairns, opening up the Far North Queensland region for further investment.
“Queensland is continuing to reinforce its position as the nation’s renewable energy superpower,” the Premier said.
“Along with the Kidston Pumped Hydro Storage Project, this wind farm will power the North and keep Queensland on track to meet our 50 per cent renewables target by 2030.”
Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the Kaban project would be the cornerstone for the Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) with funding enabling its construction commencement.
“The Morrison Government turned their back on this project – rejecting the 250 jobs it will create for workers,” he said.
“Federal Minister for Northern Australia Keith Pitt personally vetoed the NAIF loan in an attempt to block more renewable energy in Queensland.
“The Morrison Government is hopelessly conflicted on renewable energy, even going so far as to ignore large-scale storage in the region to veto Kaban under the guises of dispatchability.
“Federal Minister Keith Pitt’s veto announcement just doesn’t stack up.
“Only Labor at both state and federal levels offer energy policy certainty to investors, businesses and Queensland workers.”
Assistant Tourism Minister and Member for Cairns Michael Healy said that by upgrading the transmission line between Cairns and Townsville from 132kV to 275kV, the government would soon deliver more solar and wind-generated power from the Far North Region as other renewable energy projects come online.
“More infrastructure means more jobs. Projects like this are exactly what we need to rebuild our economy in years to come,” Mr Healy said.
“This initiative won’t just create jobs and help to keep families’ power bills reasonably priced.
“By supporting the Kaban wind farm, we’ll help to safeguard the Far North’s electricity supply from Queensland’s harshest cyclone conditions.”
Neoen Australia Managing Director Louis de Sambucy said Neoen would like to extend its sincere thanks to the Palaszczuk Government, CleanCo, Powerlink and Vestas for their hard work and unfailing support which has enabled Kaban Green Power Hub to reach this important milestone.
“We are also grateful to those in the wider community who have advocated for the project and the benefits it will bring,” Mr de Sambucy said.
“We look forward to Kaban contributing to Queensland’s energy transition and to supporting the region’s recovery from Covid-19.”