RAPAD search for landholders to play part in 4.2 GW clean energy corridor

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Landholders in western Queensland are being invited to register their interest in hosting large-scale renewable energy projects that could be connected to the proposed RAPAD (Remote Area Planning and Development board) Power Grid transmission network.

The RAPAD Power Grid project seeks to establish an estimated 930-kilometre clean energy corridor comprising 4.2 GW of solar generation and common-user battery energy storage connected to 5.2 GW of high voltage transmission line that would link the government-committed CopperString transmission project at Hughenden in the state’s northwest to the existing electricity network at Biloela.

The project is a collaboration between seven central western Queensland councils and VisIR, the parent company of CuString which originally founded and developed the CopperString project, a 1,100km transmission network that will link Mt Isa to the existing grid at Townsville, via Hughenden.

RAPAD Board Chair and Longreach Regional Council Mayor Tony Rayner said the call for expressions of interest from landholders is an important milestone for the project as it seeks to work with the local community on what he described as a transformational project.

“As we’ve seen recently in other regions, the social licence for renewable energy projects has been a massive challenge, but it can be a valuable opportunity if done well,” he said.

“We’re in a unique position with the RAPAD Power Grid project that is driven locally and focussed on working together to unlock the region’s renewable energy potential to deliver strong economic, social and environmental benefits to the central west, and all of Queensland.”

The RAPAD Power Grid project is still in the planning stage but RAPAD Acting Chief Executive Morgan Gronold said visits to geographically similar areas and communities including local projects and in the United States will be used to inform the development.

“These investigations together with our landholder EOI will provide valuable insights and networks for the RAPAD Power Grid and other regional renewable energy projects into the future,” Gronold said.

Landholders interested in exploring the opportunity are being encouraged to refer to the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) Renewable Energy Landholder Toolkit, released in 2023, to assist them in negotiations with energy industry representatives.

QFF CEO Jo Sheppard said that as the state prepares for growth in the renewable energy sector, an increasing number of landholders are being approached to host projects on their land, and it is essential that they are fully informed of the potential benefits as well as potential risks.

“The toolkit is an important resource for landholders as they work through their decision-making process,” she said.

“It will guide them through the initial stages of being approached by developers right through to the next steps should they decide to proceed with a development on their property.”

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