The Queensland Government has announced that the Barcaldine Power Station (BPS) is set to receive a $75 million upgrade that will see the addition 30MW of hydrogen-ready generation. 

This additional generator – only the second of its kind to be announced in Queensland – would add to the existing 37MW gas turbine and would be capable of using a gas-hydrogen fuel blend to produce low to zero emission electricity.

The next generation renewable project will support up to 40 jobs during its construction, including engineers, workers and administration staff, and will provide a much-needed economic boost for local suppliers and subcontractors.

The expansion to the Barcaldine Power Station will be owned and operated by Energy Queensland, making it one of the only publicly owned gas peaking plants in the world.

By nearly doubling the firmed capacity of the power station, this expansion will ensure residents of the Clermont-Barcaldine communities will continue to receive reliable, affordable, and clean power well into the future.

Site mobilisation and construction works are scheduled to commence in early 2025 with a completion date early 2026. 

Queensland Minister for Energy, Mick de Brenni, said that Queensland is changing the way that it generates power. 

“By making the switch to cleaner, cheaper sources of energy, regional Queenslanders will see the benefits – not just on their electricity bills, but in their communities,” Mr de Brenni. 

“This expansion provides a much-needed boost for the Barcaldine region, supporting up to 40 new jobs during construction, ongoing jobs during operation and will assist with the development and training in new skills for the future clean economy.

“This green hydrogen project will also provide much needed firming capacity, ensuring that locals in Clermont, Barcaldine and beyond will receive reliable, affordable, renewable power for generations to come.”

Ergon Energy Retail Executive General Manager, Ayesha Razzaq, said that Ergon Energy Retail owns and operates the current 37MW gas turbine generator at Barcaldine Power Station.

“The new generation unit will be located alongside the existing gas-fired generation unit and will primarily operate as a ‘peaking’ generation facility, supplying firming energy and dispatchable capacity to meet National Electricity Market requirements on short notice,” Ms Razzaq said. 

“The BPS expansion supports greater levels of renewable generation in the NEM and the development of the Barcaldine Renewable Energy Zone (BREZ). Importantly the selected generators will be capable of operation with a hydrogen blend to produce low to zero emission electricity.

“The Barcaldine Power Station project will also potentially defer capital expenditure on the electricity distribution network, which is also a win for the customers in this area.”

Economist Professor Ross Garnaut, author of The Superpower Transformation and Board Member of ZEN Energy, said that this is the energy transition in play. 

“The work that the team of Ergon Energy and ZEN are undertaking with the Barcaldine Regional Council is a superb example of revitalising old equipment to deliver lower cost renewable energy to the state and beyond as Queensland continues to be a leading state in Australia’s path to becoming a renewable energy superpower,” Prof Garnaut said. 

“ZEN Energy has done the work and is ready to supply all of the hydrogen required for zero carbon power generation at Barcaldine.”

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