The Queensland Labor government has tipped $300,000 into the development of a new large-scale solar and battery storage project in the state’s central west, as part of plans to “turbo-charge” economic growth in the Barcaldine region.
State energy and planning ministers said in a joint statement on Tuesday that the government’s Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board would work with leading renewables outfit, Sunshot Energy, to develop the Barcaldine Renewable Energy Hub.
The ministers said the Hub would be based around a new large-scale solar farm – size not yet specified – and would also explore the feasibility of other renewable energy initiatives, including a biosteam turbine generator and a 50MW commercial battery for storage.
“We’re eager to continue harnessing Queensland’s natural advantages by investing in more large-scale renewable energy projects,” said state treasurer and minister for infrastructure and planning Cameron Dick.
“Figures provided by Sunshot indicate the Barcaldine Renewable Energy Hub could create 200 local jobs and attract up to $500 million of new investment to the central-west.
“It would also help put further downward pressure on power prices while strengthening our state’s push towards a cleaner energy future.”
The Hub is being backed by the Barcaldine Regional Council, too, with a commitment of $100,000 towards the proposal.
Barcaldine Regional Council Mayor Sean Dillon said the region’s competitiveness for renewable energy and status as a central-northern transport hub provided an outstanding foundation for the Hub.
“This project is more than building wind and solar farms – it’s about using this green power to attract new businesses, investment and jobs into the region,” Cr Dillon said.
“Queensland is blessed with a blend of natural resources unlike anywhere in the world,” Minister Dick added. “The time is right to take advantage of this to drive a new era of investment and growth.”