2 GW of renewable energy and a ‘Just Transition’ headed to Central Queensland

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2 GW of solar, wind, energy storage and transmission infrastructure are now in the works under the moniker of the Central Queensland Power Project (CQP) thanks to the partnership of Energy Estate and RES. 

The CQP Vision 

The CQP vision is to accelerate the energy transition in Central Queensland by utilising the Fitzroy Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) and supporting Gladstone and surrounding communities through a change for the better. 

“The Central Queensland Power project is designed to drive the decarbonisation of Gladstone and accelerate the energy transition of heavy industry around this critical region,” said Energy Estate’s Simon Currie. “We are developing renewable energy projects which will deliver a mix of wind, solar and storage in proximity to Gladstone, allowing for blended generation to create a firmed renewable electricity supply able to meet the 24/7 requirements of existing heavy industry as well as the wider community and stimulate the development of new industries such as green hydrogen.” 

‘Just Transition’ 

Key to the vision is the concept of a ‘Just Transition’ for the Gladstone workforce. RES and Energy Estate are looking to create an integrated portfolio throughout the REZ over the next decade, a resilient renewable supply chain from the plains to the port. 

“The jobs created will rely on skills that are already readily available in Gladstone -” said Simon Corbell, Chief Advisor of Energy Estate, “construction, engineering, civil earthworks, fencing and security, electrical geotech, transportation and logistics…in total the projects are expected to create over a thousand local jobs and the overall investment in the projects will inject millions of dollars into the local economy.” 

In other words, a ‘Just Transition’ means a green workforce. 

The Fitzroy REZ 

The grid issues in Queensland are well documented. The Integrated System Plan (ISP and its necessary upgrades (such as the finally approved Queensland and New South Wales Interconnector [QNI]) is toward the goal of loosening the gridlock resultant from an outdated NEM and the Brave New World of renewable energy. 

The REZs are one method of easing congestion. Fitzroy is a mid-priority REZ, more sensitive to change than the Darling Downs but more robust than some other REZs. Though the amount of new generation that Fitzroy can take depends largely on other REZs, the coming decades will see more than 1,600 MW of coal generation retire, leaving a lot of space for renewable generators to feed into the grid.