A global green energy company and a 100 per cent Australian-owned clean energy operator have joined forces to deliver one of Queensland’s largest ever renewable energy projects – the North Queensland Super Hub (NQSH).
Speaking at the Bohle Industrial Estate in Townsville, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and Windlab were behind the Super Hub, with plans to feed the electricity grid and produce green hydrogen at an industrial scale.
“The North Queensland Super Hub is an outstanding investment in Queensland’s energy future, from two companies with a longstanding presence in our State and a unique understanding of our natural resources and potential,” the Premier said.
“My government is partnering with Fortescue Future Industries to deliver the Green Energy Manufacturing Centre in Gladstone – an electrolyser factory which is set to have the largest capacity in the world when it comes online.
“And people would know Windlab as one of the developers behind the Kennedy Energy Park near Hughenden – a hybrid wind, solar and storage project.
“The new Super Hub will also bring together wind and solar projects, estimated to generate more than 10 gigawatts of renewable energy.
“This clean energy can be fed into the electricity grid and will support the large-scale production of green hydrogen – a fuel of the future, produced by green energy.
“With our natural resources and catalytic projects like the North Queensland Super Hub, our State is in the hot seat to supply green hydrogen to the world.”
Detailed planning is now underway for the North Queensland Super Hub, with the first stage to include the 800 megawatt Prairie Wind Farm and the 1000 megawatt Wongalee project.
The Prairie Wind Farm alone will support up to 240 jobs during construction, and 10 to 15 permanent, full-time jobs during operation.
Construction is expected to commence on the first stage by 2025, with the projects producing clean, green power by 2027.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said Queensland was fast becoming a renewable energy and hydrogen superpower.
“The Super Hub will secure Townsville and North Queensland as an ideal location to support large-scale green hydrogen projects, bringing with it good secure jobs,” Mr Miles said.
“With world-renowned wind and sun resources, North Queensland is the perfect place for FFI and Windlab to invest in a Super Hub and bring more renewable energy into the system.
“The Super Hub will also form part of the Queensland Super Grid.”
Fortescue Future Industries CEO Mark Hutchinson said the opportunity to develop the North Queensland Super Hub was a game-changer for Queensland.
“Australia’s natural resources, including its wind, sun and landmass, are unrivalled in terms of their potential for the production of green energy – green hydrogen in particular – and that is no truer than in the sunshine state,” Mr Hutchinson said.
“This is about ensuring Queensland and Australia are in the best possible position to play a leading role in the production and supply of green hydrogen globally.
“For the first time, the North Queensland Super Hub will provide the quantity of green energy we need to support large-scale green hydrogen production right here in Queensland.
“The environmental and economic opportunities that stem from this are significant, both in terms of lowering emissions and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and in terms of local job creation.”
Windlab CEO John Martin said the company had spent a decade, learning about the region’s renewable resources, while building relationships with local stakeholders and the community.
“Windlab’s experience and track record on the ground demonstrates our commitment to meaningful partnerships with local landowners and communities, and a clear focus on delivering the best performing assets while managing any potential impacts in a way that meets stakeholder expectations,” Mr Martin said.
“The North Queensland Super Hub presents a high-yield, complementary wind and solar resource in region ideally suited for multiple offtake opportunities, while being compatible with the existing land use.
“This facility marks a big step towards realising our strategic, scalable development plan that leverages the region’s untapped renewable energy base to transform Australia’s electricity market and drive the nation’s clean energy transition.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the North Queensland Super Hub would accelerate the development of Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (QREZ) and sit at the heart of Queensland’s SuperGrid.
“Our SuperGrid – made up of wind and solar projects, battery storage and pumped hydro – will supply Queensland with clean, affordable and reliable energy in the decades ahead,” Premier Palaszczuk said.
“Building the SuperGrid is a key part of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, which we released in September this year.
“The Plan represents $62 billion of public and private investment in the energy system by 2035.
“It will create 100,000 jobs by 2040, and guarantee secure jobs for energy workers.
“And it will help our State to further decarbonise, to reach the ambitious renewable energy targets we’ve set – including 70 per cent renewable energy by 2032.”