Jobs for this generation and the next: The Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan supercharges Regional Queensland’s renewable energy industrial precinct prospects

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Media Release by Beyond Zero Emissions

Beyond Zero Emissions welcomes the release of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan today including an increased renewable energy target of 70% by 2032.

Beyond Zero Emissions’ Export Powerhouse report outlines Australia’s potential to grow a renewable energy-powered export opportunity of $333 billion by 2050 for exporting renewable commodities like hydrogen, green aluminium, critical minerals and green steel. Investment in a SuperGrid will be a key enabler to unlock this opportunity.

Heidi Edmonds, Project Manager for Beyond Zero Emissions sees the Energy and Jobs plan as an important step toward revitalising regional industry, “The plan includes important elements that will enable the repowering of regional Queensland industry with renewable energy. This will support industry with low-cost reliable energy and help transition Queensland’s grid to renewable energy more broadly.“

“Importantly, these are measures that will accelerate the development of Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts (REIPs) in Gladstone and in Townsville, two regions that can grow strong export markets for clean commodities.

Key drivers include

  • At least 25 GW new and existing renewable energy
  • Gladstone grid reinforcement to support heavy industry to switch to renewable energy and decarbonise their operations
  • Around 1500 km of new high voltage backbone transmission to move more power around the state
  • $2.5 billion boost to the Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund
  • $500 million investment for more large-scale and community batteries
  • Training hubs in Gladstone and Townsville that will support 570 workers each year
  • Procurement plan for local manufacturing including battery manufacture and recycling, wind turbine components and transmission towers

To ensure the broader Queensland SuperGrid and Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts are delivered in a way that is most beneficial for communities, natural and agricultural values, Beyond Zero Emissions recommends that federal and state governments prioritise and coordinate strategic land use planning and infrastructure needs analysis ($80m).

“Ensuring that stakeholder values are understood from the outset will help avoid land use conflicts and poor outcomes” said Dr Edmonds. “We need to move fast, and we also need to ensure that our communities and their values are captured in the process.”

Regional Queensland has long been an energy and export powerhouses. Beyond Zero Emissions research in Gladstone shows that through careful planning, industrial ecosystems powered by 100% renewable energy, known as Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts (REIPs) will continue that proud tradition into the future. ACIL Allen research commissioned by Beyond Zero Emissions shows that in Gladstone alone, 11,000 jobs can be created as a direct result of the clean industrial revolution, securing jobs for this generation and the next.

As Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts are built in other industrial regions across the country, Australia can revitalise its manufacturing industry and realise its ambition to become a renewable energy export powerhouse.

Heidi Edmonds added “Business is demanding renewable energy to decarbonise existing industries and power new industries to produce the goods the zero-emission economy demands. With this plan for Queenslands’ jobs and energy, and support from industry this vision is coming together. With additional financial support from the Federal Government for key elements such as battery manufacture this plan can be accelerated even faster and further.”