Companies line up as Queensland plans renewables-led manufacturing boom

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The Queensland government is aiming to supply 80% of the state’s electricity demand from hydro power, wind and solar farms by 2035 and more than 230 companies have already expressed an interest in supply chain opportunities and establishing manufacturing facilities in the state to provide the thousands of renewables components needed to enable the shift to clean energy.

In September, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk launched the state’s Energy and Jobs Plan, a 10-year vision for the state’s energy transformation that is expected to command $62 billion worth of public and private investment over the next 15 years.

The state government is aiming to supply 70% of the state’s energy demands from renewables by 2032, and 80% by 2035. It plans to reach these targets by constructing what it’s calling the “Queensland SuperGrid” – an interconnected and massive fit out of solar, wind, battery and hydrogen generators.

Last month it called for expressions of interest from private firms to make the renewables components, including an estimated 25 million solar PV modules, nearly 7,000 batteries and more than 2,000 wind towers, and 7,000 turbine blades, in Queensland.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles told Parliament on Thursday that 230 companies from Australia, Japan, South Korea, China, Germany, the United States and India have already responded to the Energy Manufacturing Opportunity Prospectus.

“Around half of these, more than 100 companies, are manufacturers wanting to consider the possibilities for building energy equipment and other assets here in Queensland,” he said.

“These are companies who are now considering how they can establish, expand or accelerate Queensland-based facilities. They are interested in the possibilities for local manufacturing of wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, green-hydrogen system components, transmission lines and hydro systems.”

The Queensland government expects an estimated 25 million solar modules will be needed to deliver its energy transition.

Image: Tindo Solar

Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said as well as looking to manufacture components, companies have also expressed interest in providing the many goods and services needed for renewable energy supply chains.

“Companies of all sizes, areas of expertise, and global reach have told us they want to be part of the energy transformation,” he said.

“We are bringing back manufacturing to Queensland – from companies in the state looking to expand, to overseas companies looking to move here, there are hundreds of businesses who want to help build the Queensland SuperGrid.

“That includes the supply of raw materials and components needed by manufacturers as well as the goods and services required to assemble, install, operate and maintain energy assets.”

Miles said companies which had responded to the prospectus are now part of a Queensland Treasury Corporation market-sounding process identifying existing Queensland-based capability and participation readiness as well as manufacturing opportunities.

“Importantly this process will also convey to government the roles it could play in supporting the industry to bring the local manufacturing opportunities to life,” he said.

The information will be reported to government in March 2023 to inform the release of requests for proposal later in 2023. The prospectus remains open for registrations of interest.

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