The Australian and Queensland governments have inked a landmark agreement to fast-track connection of the country’s largest wind farm precinct to the National Electricity Market.
The $160 million commitment from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) for the Southern Downs Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) will help power 700,000 Queensland homes and create hundreds of local jobs.
Powerlink, a Queensland Government company, will use the finance to build and operate 65 km of high voltage overhead transmission lines and two new switching stations.
The new infrastructure will connect power generated from the region’s rich wind resources to the grid, providing additional network capacity of up to 1000MW, adding to the proposed 1000MW of renewable plant capacity to support the MacIntyre Wind Precinct.
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the CEFC finance would help deliver more renewable energy to households and businesses in southern Queensland, and the east-coast states of Australia.
“The best way to put downward pressure on energy prices is to ramp up investment in renewables, transmission and storage and that is exactly what this $160 million commitment will do,” he said.
“After a decade of energy chaos from the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Governments – the Albanese Government is getting on with the job and working with all states and territories, including Queensland, on the essential energy infrastructure we need.
“We are delivering on our Powering Australia plan which includes a major boost to renewable energy supplies to help create jobs and reduce emissions across the nation.”
This is the first account between a Queensland Government owned company and the CEFC, and it will be helping to establish one of the largest wind project in the southern hemisphere.
Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the agreement demonstrated how working together can help the nation achieve energy independence.
“Connecting the massive project to the national grid not only unlocks $2 billion worth of investment, it also boosts reliability of power across the three east Australian states, with clean Queensland-made energy,” he said.
“It also presents another opportunity to build onshore capability and skill Queenslanders for renewable energy jobs of the future.
“This model also connects cheaper renewable generation in a way that minimises costs and risks for Queensland businesses and households.”
Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) CEO Andrew Richards said the model should be replicated across Australia.
“This model fundamentally changes the way that transmission businesses are looking at delivering this type of infrastructure,” he said.
It’s fantastic and we want to see more of them adopt this approach across the country.”