CleanCo to transform old coal-fired power precinct into green energy hub


A former coal power station site near the city of Ipswich in Queensland’s southeast will be transformed into a clean energy hub featuring a 250 MW/500 MWh big battery, an onsite solar farm and green hydrogen production facilities.

State-owned renewable power generator CleanCo said the proposed Swanbank Clean Energy Hub would be developed on a 336-hectare site on the outskirts of Ipswich west of Brisbane.

CleanCo said the site has an overall transmission network capacity of approximately 1.2 GW, providing significant potential for new energy opportunities that support the state’s renewable energy ambitions.

The site originally hosted two coal-fired power stations with the last of those units decommissioned in 2012. The site is now home to the 385 MW gas-fired Swanbank E power station which is to be integrated into the new renewable energy hub.

CleanCo Chief Executive Officer Tom Metcalfe said the publicly owned company is undertaking a master planning process to guide the development of low-emission energy generation and storage opportunities and identify “how the site may best serve the energy network and the local community into the future.”

“We are progressing a 250 MW battery project and are seeking expressions of interest for alternative energy options including potential hydrogen production and hydrogen use, while also exploring alternative energy storage options,” he said.

A concept sketch of the proposed Swanbank Clean Energy Hub.

Image: CleanCo

Metcalfe said CleanCo will open expressions of interest for businesses to pitch what energy is produced at the site in the coming months.

“We’ll be seeking proposals from industry to develop hydrogen production and use here at the site and also to look at alternative energy storage options,” he said.

Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the Swanbank Clean Energy Hub is part of the government’s $62 billion Energy and Jobs Plan, which aims to supply 70% of the state’s energy demands from renewables by 2032, and 80% by 2035.

“What we’re doing is progressing a master-planned approach to a precinct where we’ll bring together wind energy, solar, and the production of hydrogen,” he said.

“The clean energy hub at Swanbank has the potential to generate up to 1.2 GW of power. And to put that into context, that’s over 10% of what Queensland uses each and every day at its peak.”

“The Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan is all about a future of cheaper, cleaner and secure energy for Queenslanders, with 70% of it renewable by 2032.”

The Callide power station is not expected to return to full capacity until next year.

Image: CS Energy

The announcement comes a day after state-owned generator CS Energy revealed the company’s coal-fired Callide power station near Biloela in central Queensland won’t be fully operational until January next year.

The 1,540 MW Callide power station, which meets about 30% of the state’s electricity demand, has not operated at capacity since May 2021. That was when the plant’s C4 generation unit was destroyed in an explosion, while the C3 unit was taken offline after structure failure caused a collapse of its cooling tower in September.

The C3 unit was due to return to full capacity by September 30, while the C4 unit was due to be fully operational by October 31.

However, CS Energy said it would delay the return of both units to full capacity so it can rebuild the cooling towers of both units.

The return of C3 had been postponed by six months to 31 December 2023, while C4 has been delayed another eight months.

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: