Pumped hydro projects to secure Queensland’s clean energy future

JOINT STATEMENT

The Premier has visited North Queensland today to reveal more details of the historic plan that will transform Queensland’s energy future into a clean, green renewable age.

A cornerstone of the landmark Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan includes progressing the development of the largest pumped hydro energy storage project in the world to power Queensland into the renewable energy era.

In Mackay, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk discussed a new publicly owned entity – Queensland Hydro – to progress the project.

“The Pioneer-Burdekin mega project, west of Mackay could be the largest pumped hydro project in the world, with potential generation capacity 2.5 times that of Snowy 2.0,” the Premier said.

“It has the potential to deliver up to 5GW for 24 hours or 120GWh, given the favourable topography of the area.

“That’s 617 times larger than South Australia’s Hornsdale battery and 20 times larger than Wivenhoe.

“The high-quality wind and solar resources across North Queensland means it could also unlock large volumes of renewable energy capacity for local industry.

“This makes the region even more attractive for global investment in emerging industries like green hydrogen, green metals and manufacturing.”

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said this storage system and the other one being progressed at Borumba Dam near Gympie will be like giant batteries that can dispatch reliable power on demand.

“Queensland will require at least 6GW of long-duration storage to maintain the security and reliability of the state’s energy supply into the future,” he said.

“At potentially 7GW, when combined with our other site, our pumped hydro projects could deliver this.

“They will store energy when the wind blows and the sun shines, and make this power available when they don’t.

“Development of grid-connected long-duration pumped hydro storage will provide the market and public with confidence about Queensland’s ability to deliver reliable and affordable clean energy.”

Treasurer Cameron Dick said publicly owned entity Queensland Hydro would ensure Queenslanders continue to reap rewards from their publicly owned energy assets.

“Since 2018, the Palaszczuk Government has delivered up to $575 of dividends to Queensland electricity customers via asset ownership dividends and cost of living rebates.

“All that money –$1.19 billion – has gone back into the pockets of Queenslanders instead of corporate shareholders.

“That’s only possible because Queenslanders own their electricity assets and weren’t sold off like the former LNP government wanted to do.”

Energy and Procurement Minister Mick de Brenni said the project, proposed to be constructed well clear of protected areas, also offered significant supply chain and economic opportunities for the greater Mackay region.

“There’ll be a huge pipeline of work from concreting to catering, logistics to landscaping, and refuse to roadworks–that’s all before building the powerhouse itself.

“Our Buy Queensland procurement initiative ensures that our investments drive economic, environmental, and social outcomes that benefit local economies.

“It’s a policy that will keep taxpayer dollars circulating in the Mackay region, creating jobs and investing in the local our economy.”

Queensland Hydro will conduct further studies and deliver a detailed assessment for the Pioneer-Burdekin project to government in 2024.

This will include consultation with traditional owners and the community, hydrological modelling and assessment of environmental and social impacts, as well as commercial and financial modelling.

Queensland Hydro will also continue to investigate other large-scale, long-duration pumped hydro sites in the event the project is unable to proceed.

Assistant Minister for Health and Regional Health Infrastructure and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan would be a jobs bonanza for the region.

“This plan forecasts over $7 billion in additional renewable energy investment in the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsundays region by 2040, adding to the $1.5 billion invested in the region since 2016,” she said.

“This plan will leverage our existing investments in the Mackay Manufacturing Hub and the Mackay Resources Centre, as well as the Commonwealth-funded Mackay Electric Vehicle and Energy Training Centre at the Central Queensland Mackay Ooralea campus.

“The abundant renewable resources nearby also mean that existing mining operations can decarbonise and be globally competitive well into the future.

“The ports at Abbot Point, Mackay and Hay Point are already attracting interest from early movers who recognise their potential for hydrogen storage and export.”

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