Queensland Renewable Energy Zones
The Queensland Government has committed $145 million to establish three renewable energy zones in northern, central, and southern Queensland.
In these areas, we will:
- conduct energy network analysis
- invest in strategic network upgrades to unlock new renewable generation
- streamline the development of new renewable energy projects
- work to match new and existing industrial energy demand with affordable renewable energy.
Across the three Queensland Renewable Energy Zones (QREZ), this investment will:
- inject economic activity into our regional communities, supporting our COVID-19 road to recovery strategy
- position Queensland as a renewable energy investment destination of choice
- support the decarbonisation and efficiency goals of businesses across Queensland
- create long-term, sustainable, and diversified employment in a growing global industry
- accelerate progress towards our target of 50% renewable energy by 2030.
Contribution to COVID-19 economic recovery
Strengthening Queensland’s industries is a critical part of our COVID-19 economic recovery.
Staged and coordinated clean energy infrastructure investments will attract new projects to these zones. More renewable energy is expected to place downward pressure on prices, boosting local industries and bringing down prices for consumers.
The zones offer long-term potential for significant levels of renewable capacity. They represent billions of dollars of investment in new projects and thousands of new jobs, and will progress Queensland towards its 50% renewable energy target by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
Renewable energy zones
A renewable energy zone brings together a coordinated mix of generation, network upgrades, demand, and potentially storage, to deliver renewable electricity investments more efficiently than developing projects individually.
Renewable generators within a renewable energy zone may share a common connection to the National Electricity Market, achieving economies of scale.
A renewable energy zone involves the coordinated development of infrastructure (network, generation, and sometimes load) in a geographic area with:
- good quality renewable resources
- suitable topography
- land available to support the connection of renewable projects.
A renewable energy zone can also be co-located with emerging or existing industry to increase access to cheaper, cleaner energy. Network investment and demand expansion are mutually reinforcing and will be key to bringing new renewable generation to Queensland.
Location of Queensland renewable energy zones (QREZ)
The southern, central and northern QREZ regions all have:
- high-quality wind and solar energy resources
- existing and committed renewable energy projects
- existing or planned network infrastructure to connect to the National Electricity Market.
- The southern QREZ has driven the majority of renewables investment in the state since 2016, benefiting from strong network infrastructure that can accommodate large amounts of renewable capacity, and close proximity to South East Queensland demand.
- The southern QREZ includes the Darling Downs candidate zone identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in its 2020 Integrated System Plan (ISP).
- The southern QREZ will offer diversification opportunities for sectors including agriculture, food processing, mining and resources, which are already operational in this region.
- There will also be opportunities to attract new industries into the region that capitalise on existing regional strengths.
- Central Queensland boasts strong network infrastructure, wind and solar resources, and a large manufacturing and industrial demand profile.
- The central QREZ includes the Fitzroy and Wide Bay candidate zones identified in the 2020 ISP.
- The central QREZ will offer diversification opportunities for existing and emerging sectors such as hydrogen, green metals, new economy minerals, minerals recycling, agriculture and manufacturing.
- Northern Queensland has significant potential for long-term renewable energy development with some of the strongest wind and solar resources in Australia.
- The northern QREZ contains five candidate zones above Rockhampton identified in the 2020 ISP including Isaac, Barcaldine, North Queensland, North Queensland Clean Energy Hub and Far North Queensland.
- The northern QREZ will build on existing regional strengths and offer diversification opportunities for existing and emerging sectors such as new economy minerals, hydrogen, biofuels, food processing and manufacturing.
Registrations of interest
In 2020, the government ran a ‘registration of interest’ for renewable energy project proponents. Registrations closed on 25 September 2020, with 192 submissions received across the state. We are using the information provided to inform QREZ planning activities including the scope, scale, location, and timing of development.
We are also consulting with key stakeholders on how to pair industrial electricity demand with QREZ development. This will not only inform proposed investments in QREZ but create new opportunities for industrial decarbonisation across regions.
There will also be further opportunities for organisations interested in developing renewable energy and energy storage projects to be involved as the QREZ program develops.
- Last updated:
- 19 March 2021