A key part of the $386 million Powering North Queensland Plan has commenced with an Expression of Interest (EOI) process for the proposed 2,000MW North Queensland Clean Energy Hub feasibility study.
Treasurer and Acting Minister for Energy Curtis Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government allocated $150 million towards the development of strategic electricity transmission infrastructure as part of the North Queensland Clean Energy Hub, subject to a feasibility study.
“This is all part of our plan to unlock a wave of energy projects to power the North Queensland economy and support 5000 jobs,” Mr Pitt said.
“Our plan will not only deliver investment and jobs to North Queensland but will also help to secure energy supply and drive down energy costs for consumers.”
Mr Pitt said Powerlink was conducting the EOI from today on behalf of the Queensland Government.
“The four week EOI process will seek market information on a range of aspects, including potential generation interest, storage options and significant load requirements and will be open from 11 August until the 8 September,” Mr Pitt said.
“We encourage all companies with an interest in the North Queensland Clean Energy Hub to flag their potential involvement and provide us with the latest market information via the EOI process.
“The information received as part of this process will be treated confidentially and will inform the options for potential routes for the transmission infrastructure and project timing.
“This is an important project which will drive cost savings by generating economies of scale through multiple generators and loads sharing transmission infrastructure rather than seeking individual network connections.”
Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland and Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said the Clean Energy Hub would play a key role in diversifying North Queensland’s energy supply and supporting the 50 per cent by 2030 renewable energy target.
“We know people in the North are really concerned about power prices. An important part in stabilising prices is making sure we invest in local, North Queensland infrastructure,” Mrs O’Rourke said.
“Excitingly, the transmission line will support an Energy Hub that will generate North Queensland energy for North Queensland businesses and families.”
Queensland’s Energy Security Taskforce Chair Terry Effeney said this infrastructure was another part of the strategy to guide the state’s robust energy security for both the short and long-term.
“The Clean Energy Hub has the potential to unlock more of this region’s renewable resources by providing high voltage transmission infrastructure to allow existing projects to expand, as well as providing more infrastructure for more renewable projects.” Mr Effeney said.
“Powerlink’s EOI process will provide the essential research to identify the optimal form of the Clean Energy Hub.”
Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said the EOI was part of a feasibility study into the North Queensland Clean Energy Hub due for completion by December 2017.
“The feasibility study will involve a number of technical assessments including economic, environmental, social and regional considerations,” Ms York said.
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart and Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper welcomed the announcement.
Mr Stewart said: “The $386 million Powering North Queensland Plan is a vital, economy-growing investment and underlines the Palaszczuk Government’s ongoing commitment to North Queensland, renewable energy and jobs.”
Mr Harper said: “This plan will power North Queensland’s communities and its industries with energy and jobs for the future and it will help further stabilise electricity prices.”