Renewable Energy Zone
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The Queensland Government has released its Renewable Energy Zone Roadmap (REZ Roadmap), proposing 12 renewable energy zones (REZs) to be established in regional areas throughout the state.

The REZ Roadmap is designed to ensure local communities reap their fair share of the rewards on offer through the state’s clean energy transition, and will coordinate and smooth the rollout of renewables in each of the 12 proposed REZs.

The Queensland Government said that landholders, local stakeholders, councils, and the broader community – including farmers, small business and residents of regional communities – will be put at the core of how renewables are rolled out in their region.

Each REZ will host wind, solar and storage, and will be connected to the Queensland SuperGrid.

The first REZ Local Reference Groups are to be established later in 2024, designed to the order of REZ development to ensure community feedback is front and centre throughout the transition.

The new framework also outlined the preparation of REZ Readiness Assessments, established under new laws as REZ Assessments before the Parliament, in partnership with communities.

The Central Queensland region is expected to be the location of the first official REZ and REZ Local Reference Group, in the proposed Callide REZ.

With nine solar farms, one wind farm and a further 48 renewable energy projects in the pipeline, REZ development in Central Queensland is designed as an integral part of guaranteeing the supply of clean, affordable power to households and businesses.

Infrastructure blueprints are to be updated every two years to identify the optimal infrastructure required to meet renewable energy targets.

The REZ Readiness Assessment process is set to begin in Central Queensland in the first half of 2024, and will involve further community engagement to ensure the roll-out of key infrastructure and supply chains essential for economic prosperity.

Following feedback that regional communities need additional assistance to become ready to make the most of the clean energy transition, the Queensland Government has committed $20 million from the Regional Economic Futures Fund to ensure communities can engage in and share the benefits of the transformation.

This funding will support outcomes from the REZ Readiness Assessments that will take place in 2024 and encourage further investment in local community benefits from project developers.

Funding will support a range of critical enablers, including bridges, roads and telecommunications.

As part of the roadmap’s delivery, the Queensland Government has committed to:

  • $6 million for commencing the Central Queensland Strategic REZ Readiness Assessment in the first half of 2024, and the Strategic REZ Readiness Assessments for North, Far North and Southern Queensland in late 2024
  • Initial focus on the first phase of REZ development including Callide
  • Allocating $20 million from the Regional Economic Futures Fund to action outputs from REZ Readiness Assessments
  • Undertaking a review into how the Queensland Government can better manage community feedback about large-scale energy infrastructure development

Queensland Minister for Energy and Clean Economy Jobs, Mick de Brenni, said, “Regional Queensland is crucial to ensuring Queensland reaches its renewable energy targets, and we are committed to backing local communities and delivering them the best outcomes as part of this transition.

“We’ve listened to local communities in the design of this process from the beginning, to ensure we provide the support they need and deliver the benefits they want, and I acknowledge regional Mayors like Nev Ferrier of Banana Shire for their advocacy.

“The REZ Roadmap paves a clear way forward to ensure all regions of the state benefit from the economic and investment opportunities renewable energy brings.

“We’re taking intentional, measured steps to deliver a clear and detailed framework, which has never been rolled out in Australia on this scale before.

“Having a clear plan for the rollout of renewables means security for communities, a reduced impact on our natural environment, and works towards establishing Queensland as the best practice benchmark for delivering the energy transition in partnership with community.

“The energy transition is all about supporting regional communities – and with this ground-breaking plan, we’re putting those communities and the people who call them home, first,” Mr de Brenni said.

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