A multimillion-dollar electrical infrastructure package is set to fire up North Queensland as works begin in early 2020 for more renewable energy projects.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the State Government would support Genex’s project at Kidston with up to $132 million supporting 500 construction jobs.

Publicly-owned Powerlink will build a single circuit transmission line from Genex’s Kidston site to Mount Fox near Ingham, linking the hinterland to the National Electricity Market.

“North Queensland has high-quality wind and hydroelectric resources, and providing transmission connection is the key to sparking investment in these resources,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“This investment unlocks access to more energy generation for North Queensland.

“This infrastructure will support the development of a clean energy hub in the North, providing jobs, investment and energy security.”

Deputy Premier and Treasurer, Jackie Trad, said the government’s investment in Kidston reinforced the growing role that renewable energy is playing in meeting electricity demand right across Eastern Australia.

“The evidence from the market is clear – industry sees the benefits of renewable energy and is putting its money on the table,” Mr Trad said.

“What’s needed now is the means to connect these emission-free projects to the grid and get the power to where it’s needed.”

Energy Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, said detailed planning was expected to start soon, with work to start on site early next year after the wet season.

“Building this breakthrough 186km transmission line and associated infrastructure will create 400 jobs over two years,” Dr Lynham said.

“The Genex project itself will have a peak construction workforce of about 500 people per annum for the first two years, 250 in the final year and 30 permanent operational jobs.

“And connecting 250MW of pumped hydro capacity will help make the North Queensland electricity network more reliable.”

The Queensland Government has also invested $1.18 million for further feasibility work on the Copperstring proposal.

The Copperstring proposal is for a privately-owned electricity transmission line connecting Mount Isa and the North West Minerals Province’s processing and mining projects to the grid.

The announcement flows from the Government’s Powering North Queensland Plan, which commits to investing in strategic transmission infrastructure to encourage renewable energy in North and North West Queensland.

The announcement also follows the announcement that the Queensland Government would invest $16 million to progress to the detailed business case for raising the Burdekin Falls Dam wall as part of the next stage of the Burdekin Hydro project.

North and Far North Queensland currently have 1,700MW of operational renewable energy generation capacity, and another 60MW to begin exporting at the Kennedy Energy Park near Hughenden.

Other potential projects in early stages of development include:

  • Equis’ solar farm near Collinsville North
  • Infigen’s solar farm near Bowen
  • Pacific Hydro’s Haughton Solar Farm Stage 2

The Queensland Government’s contribution is subject to agreement on final conditions with Genex to ensure value for money for taxpayers and the timely delivery of the Kidston project to support jobs in North Queensland.

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