Making renewables work for Southern Queensland workers, families and communities

Published Tuesday, 10 August, 2021 at 03:08 PM

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement
The Honourable Mick de Brenni

Southern Queensland communities will be among the first in the nation to be asked how they want the multi-billion dollar renewable energy sector to benefit their families, jobs and region.

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni today launched public consultation to collect community feedback on Queensland’s three renewable energy zones (QREZs) – southern, central and northern zones.

Support for renewables is a key part of the Palaszczuk Government’s plan for economic recovery from the global coronavirus pandemic, Mr de Brenni said, and the region’s strong wind and solar resources mean the Southern QREZ has already seen significant growth in renewable energy generation.

As part of the registration of interest held last year, more than 72 projects registered interest in the Southern QREZ representing over $30B of potential investment with its diverse mix of industries and communities within its 12 regional Local Government Areas including Toowoomba, Warwick and Dalby.

It is already host to 16 large-scale committed wind and solar projects, including the state’s largest operating wind farm, Coopers Gap, at 453MW, soon to be overtaken by the 1026MW MacIntyre Wind Farm.

“This will be the first time in the nation that communities will be able to have their say on how renewable projects and energy infrastructure within the QREZ are developed to benefit them, their family, and their community,” Mr de Brenni said.

“We will ensure that QREZs are developed in a way that maximises community benefits and economic outcomes.

“This consultation paper outlines principles for engagement, sharing benefits with communities and delivering local jobs and local procurement in QREZ.

“It seeks to understand what local communities, small business, manufacturers and renewables and hydrogen project developers view as important in the development of Queensland’s renewable energy zones and how to deliver lasting, meaningful benefits for communities and workers.

“This will ensure community views and genuine local benefits are front and centre in the development process for QREZ.”

Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said Queensland’s renewable energy zones offered massive opportunities.

“The QREZ approach has enormous potential to accelerate renewable energy deployment across regional Queensland and deliver significant jobs and economic opportunities,” Mr Thornton said.

“It’s crucial that the voice of the community is central in getting the design of QREZ right and we welcome this important consultation.  

MP for Ipswich West and co-chair of the Darling Downs and South West Community Forum Jim Madden said the public consultation would be followed by a technical paper later in the year, for feedback from industry and other energy stakeholders on the framework for QREZ design and access.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to creating jobs in new and existing decarbonised industries as part of our COVID-19 economic recovery plan,” Mr Madden said.

“To do that we need to deliver them the reliable, affordable and renewable energy to enable more job creation throughout the regions.

“Our renewable energy zones will do just that.

“It’s likely that the Queensland economy will require three times the current amount of energy in coming decades to ensure we can decarbonise existing industries and grow our economy.”

The online survey is open until 30 September 2021.


Media contact:  Dan Knowles 0432 681 664