Investors shatter state expectations with REZ submissions


The Palaszczuk Government earlier this year unveiled a $145 million plan to establish REZs in the north, central and southern regions of the state, making it easier for renewable projects to connect to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

In September the government called for investors to submit proposals for new renewable energy generation and storage projects to build out the REZs.

With the first round of registrations now closed, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Friday her government had been flooded with expressions of interest, with enough projects to create 6 GW of clean energy –  enough capacity to power the nation.

“We’ve had expressions of interest for a further 192 projects that will charge up our state’s economic recovery, creating up to 57,000 jobs in the process,” she said.

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said if all the projects are developed they will support more than $93.7 billion in investment.

The proposed projects are a mix of clean energy generation technologies including solar PV, wind and biomas. The proposals also include storage technologies such as utility-scale batteries which De Brenni said would play an important role in a low-emissions future, “offering the ability to dispatch clean energy on demand”.

De Brenni said the most popular REZ was the southern zone, which includes the  Darling Downs. The zone, which was identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in its final 2020 Integrated System Plan, attracted 72 “strong expressions of interest”.

“Between Cairns and Townsville, our initiative has attracted strong interest from a variety of projects which will support the growing demand for new economy minerals extraction and processing, that are critical to the components required in the renewable and technology sectors,” de Brenni said.

“While around Longreach and Rockhampton we’ve attracted expressions of interest from 67 projects, creating significant opportunities to enable growth in the state’s renewable hydrogen development.”

With the first round of registrations now closed, De Brenni said the government would be shortlisting and approving projects which deliver the greatest benefit for Queenslanders.

“The next steps in cementing these zones will be progressed during 2021 with a priority on investments that focus on Queensland’s economic recovery from COVID-19,” he said.

De Brenni said the influx of investment proposals illustrated that the state remains on target to achieve its 50% renewable energy target by 2030.

“Queensland is already generating 20% of our electricity from renewable resources and our investment in the renewable energy zones means we can add this clean energy to our electricity grid,” he said.

“In just over six years our policies have turned the energy investment climate on its head, transforming the state (into) an $8.5 billion energy investment and 7,000 job powerhouse.

“What this looks like today is clean electricity coming from 33 operational large-scale wind and solar projects and there’s another 11 already committed or under construction.”

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