The Queensland Government is seeking community feedback on Queensland’s three renewable energy zones (QREZs) – northern, central and southern zones.
Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said support for renewables is a key part of the State Government’s plan for economic recovery from the global coronavirus pandemic and that the Northern QREZ is rich in renewable resources with some of the best untapped wind in the country.
He said as part of the registration of interest held last year, 53 projects registered interest in the Northern QREZ representing over $23B of potential investment within its 22 Local Government Areas to the north of Mackay and surrounding areas, up to Townsville and Cairns and extending north.
“This will be the first time in the nation that communities will be able to have their say on how renewable projects and energy infrastructure within the QREZ are developed to benefit them, their family, and their community,” Minister de Brenni said.
“We will ensure that QREZs are developed in a way that maximises community benefits and economic outcomes.”
“This consultation paper outlines principles for engagement, sharing benefits with communities and delivering local jobs and local procurement in QREZ.”
“It seeks to understand what local communities, small businesses, manufacturers and renewables and hydrogen project developers view as important in the development of Queensland’s renewable energy zones and how to deliver lasting, meaningful benefits for communities and workers.”
“This will ensure community views and genuine local benefits are front and centre in the development process for QREZ.”
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton, said Queensland’s renewable energy zones offered massive opportunities.
“The QREZ approach has enormous potential to accelerate renewable energy deployment across regional Queensland and deliver significant jobs and economic opportunities,” Mr Thornton said.
“It’s crucial that the voice of the community is central in getting the design of QREZ right and we welcome this important consultation.”
MP for Thuringowa, Aaron Harper, said the public consultation would be followed by a technical paper later in the year, for feedback from industry and other energy stakeholders on the framework for QREZ design and access.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to creating jobs in new and existing decarbonised industries as part of our COVID-19 economic recovery plan,” Mr Harper said.
“To do that we need to deliver them the reliable, affordable and renewable energy to enable more job creation throughout the regions.”
“Our renewable energy zones will do just that.”
“It’s likely that the Queensland economy will require three times the current amount of energy in coming decades to ensure we can decarbonise existing industries and grow our economy.”
The online survey is open until 30 September 2021. To complete the survey and for more information, visit here.