Unveiled: Rockhampton’s Stanwell Clean Energy Hub

Published Monday, 28 August, 2023 at 09:00 AM

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

Unveiled: Rockhampton’s Stanwell Clean Energy Hub
  • 2023-24 Budget for Queensland’s Big Build commits record $19 billion to delivering more renewable energy to the Queensland SuperGrid.
  • Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan to unlock 100,000 new industrial jobs in hydrogen, renewables, manufacturing, and critical minerals.
  • Stanwell power station operating as clean energy hub by 2032-33, supported by a legislated Job Security Guarantee for energy workers.

The Palaszczuk Government has unveiled the first look at the future Stanwell Clean Energy Hub.

To begin the transformation of the Stanwell Clean Energy Hub, publicly owned energy company Stanwell Corporation will build the Future Energy and Innovation Training Hub (FEITH) valued at up to $100 million.

The size of a shopping centre, the hub will provide the sandbox to test out innovative new energy technology including wind, solar, hydrogen and battery storage.

It will also provide a real-life, hands-on training environment for Queensland energy employees to develop the skills needed to work on renewable energy technologies.

The project is proposed to be delivered in phases, starting with the establishment of common infrastructure and civil works in late 2023.

Future phases include a skills academy and demonstration centre where the community can come to learn about new energy technologies. In its entirety, the project will cost over $100 million and be deployed over five years.

The Stanwell Power Station, with a capacity of 1,460MW is located between the potential future Capricorn and Calliope Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) as outlined in Queensland’s Draft REZ Roadmap.

Those two zones alone are expected to connect between 1,900 and 3,800MW of installed generation, creating up to 650 construction jobs, supported by the Jobs Security Guarantee for the existing workforce.

Central Queensland’s REZ covers 10 local government areas and supports the region’s key industries of agriculture, construction, minerals processing, and manufacturing to meet their clean energy goals and demand from international markets.

Quotes attributable to Member for Keppel and Assistant Minister for Health and Regional Health Infrastructure Brittany Lauga:

“This is concrete proof that the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan is driving investment and new opportunities in our region, supporting workers to be partners in the energy transformation, and capturing new opportunities to create secure, ongoing, good jobs.

“Last year the Premier and I committed to not shut the gate on this power station and to give it a new life, with more workers, playing a leading role in the energy transformation–today, we deliver on that commitment.”

Quotes attributable to the Member for Rockhampton and Queensland Hydrogen Champion Barry O’Rourke:

“We are delivering on our commitment to reinvest in this power station with new renewable energy, renewable hydrogen, storage, and system strength infrastructure, leveraging the strategic advantages of the site.

“This investment locks in the opportunity for CQ workers to lead a green hydrogen industry with the potential to grow demand for renewable energy, assist in domestic supply for decarbonisation, and create the opportunity to export our CQ renewable resources to the world.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni:

“The nation cannot meet its legislated emissions reduction targets without serious action in Queensland, so we are delivering the energy transition that Queenslanders and Australians voted for.

“The first place the Premier and I went following the release of our plan was the Stanwell Power Station to give the workforce the Government’s commitment to their job security and outline our blueprint to convert it into a Clean Energy Hub.

“We’re so serious about our plan that we’re legislating our renewable energy targets–70% by 2032 and 80% by 2035–and putting our Jobs Security Guarantee into law.”

“Because Queenslanders kept their energy network in public hands, they have unprecedented control over the destiny of their energy system in its transition to 70% renewable energy by 2032.

“While other states are scrambling to get out of coal-fired power, or even prop it up for longer, it’s Queensland who is now leading the nation’s orderly climate and energy transition.

“The Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan is the most comprehensive, accountable, realistic, transparent, and effective plan for an energy transition–not just in the nation–but quite possibly the world.

“Our Queensland Draft Renewable Energy Zone Roadmap demonstrates our unique ability to deliver benefits for local communities through infrastructure, transport, housing and accommodation, workforce, supply chains, waste management, biodiversity protection other land uses, and social infrastructure, as well as local industry and First Nations considerations.

“We need to set the standard because public ownership gives us an extra layer of accountability to our workers, communities, and the environment, as well as to energy security and affordability for households and businesses. 

“We’ve always said that Queensland’s publicly owned power stations will continue to play an important role in our future energy system as clean energy hubs because they are located in strong parts of the network with strategic advantages like grid connection, a highly skilled workforce, established community relationships, and land.”

Quotes attributable to Chair of the Net Zero Economy Agency, Hon Greg Combet AM:

“The Stanwell Clean Energy Hub will play an important role in unlocking investment in net zero economic transformation to support Queensland’s energy transition.

“During my recent travel to Queensland I was impressed by the commitment of the Queensland Government, local governments, industry, and communities to work together towards an orderly transition that capitalises on emerging energy technology opportunities.

“The Net Zero Economy Agency has been established to ensure that the workers, industries, and communities that have powered Australia for generations can seize the opportunities of Australia’s transition to a net zero economy. This project is a great example of a regional community in Queensland working together for a better future.”

Quotes attributable to Stanwell Chief Executive Officer, Michael O’Rourke:

“The FEITH project will be the visible bright spark of Stanwell’s transformation to clean energy and our vision is for FEITH to be a catalyst for advancing the energy transformation, not just at Stanwell, but for the entire State.

“It will increase our understanding of new energy technologies and their application in building Stanwell’s renewable energy portfolio and driving the development of Queensland hydrogen industry.

“And just as importantly, it will help us create the energy workforce Queensland needs for the future through hands-on skills development and training.”

Stanwell’s Future Energy and Innovation Training Hub (FEITH) Explainer:

The three purposes of the FEITH project are:

Commercialisation testing:

  • Incubation and acceleration space for pilot energy projects.
  • Testing of new technology and develop and drive it to a commercialisation stage.

Research and Development:

  • A trial site for experimentation, development and testing.
  • A space to explore technologies targeted for specific energy solutions for specific purposes.
  • A feeder for technologies to be integrated into clean energy hubs.

Training and education:

  • Training, upskilling and micro-credentials for Stanwell staff and other industry workers.
  • Enhancing apprenticeship learning opportunities.
  • A demonstration centre where community members, education providers and schools can learn about emerging energy technologies.

Iron flow battery

Stanwell has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Energy Storage Industries – Asia Pacific (ESI) to establish an iron flow battery pilot project on site adjacent to Stanwell Power Station.

Twenty 12m-long batteries have been delivered to the power station to form 1MW/10MWh of energy storage – the first iron flow battery in Australia and the largest in the world. ESI owns the Asia-Pacific licence for the technology created by the US-based ESS. Inc (Energy Storage Solutions).

The Iron Flow Battery pilot at SPS will test the viability of iron flow batteries for medium duration energy storage (8-12 hours) and confirm the viability of deploying the technology at scale. The duration makes the batteries ideal for supporting and firming the electricity network during periods of high demand and low renewable energy generation. Iron flow batteries use an environmentally friendly electrolyte solution to store and discharge electrical energy.

Stanwell will acquire the battery once it has been successfully commissioned and is aiming to deliver service and maintenance on the pilot.

Hydrogen electrolyser pilot

Stanwell will partner with Hysata to host a 5 MW pilot project to validate the commercialisation potential and technical performance of Hysata’s electrolyser technology.

Hysata is an Australian electrolyser company which is developing a completely new type of electrolyser, featuring the world’s most efficient electrolysis cell coupled with a simplified balance of plant. Electricity makes up most of the cost of green hydrogen and therefore, the most efficient electrolyser will deliver the lowest cost hydrogen.

Stanwell will provide $3 million and supply the site and facilities for the field deployment of the electrolyser at FEITH.

Skills and training partnership

Stanwell and CQUniversity (CQU) have signed an MOU and will partner to develop a skills and training program for:

  • existing trades, technical and engineering roles within the energy industry to further build and transfer their current skills to renewable energy technologies for the future, and
  • expand current opportunities for Apprentices, Trainees and Graduates in hydrogen technologies and battery storage.

Stanwell will complement CQU’s research facilities with access to FEITH, enhancing the real-world applications of the research by enabling hands-on training and technology development at a commercial demonstration scale.

Queensland Clean Energy Hubs Explainer

Queensland’s coal-fired power stations provide critical dispatchable power and system services, keeping the state’s energy system reliable and secure. In the future, renewable energy generators, PHES, batteries and low emissions gas-fuelled plant will collectively provide the dispatchable capacity currently provided by coal.

The Queensland Government will invest to repurpose publicly owned coal-fired power stations into clean energy hubs, capitalising on their skilled workforces, strong network connections and existing infrastructure.

This reinvestment and repurposing of coal-fired power stations will occur in a coordinated manner, ensuring energy security for all Queenslanders.

Read more about The Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan: https://www.epw.qld.gov.au/energyandjobsplan/about.


Media Contact – Andrew Churchill 0457 600 237