Advance Rockhampton executive manager Greg Bowden (left) discussing renewable energy projects with mayor Tony Williams (right). Pic: Lachlan Berlin
Advance Rockhampton executive manager Greg Bowden (left) discussing renewable energy projects with mayor Tony Williams (right). Pic: Lachlan Berlin

‘Renewable energy hub’: 11 projects to transform the region

Advance Rockhampton hopes to develop Central Queensland into a renewable energy hub and is looking ahead to the State Government's renewable energy target of 50 per cent target by 2030.

It hosted a Renewable Energy Forum at the Rockhampton Leagues Club on April 8 to give industry leaders an opportunity to discuss what's happening with these new energy projects.

Rockhampton mayor Tony Williams said his council had a number of solar farm applications with it at the moment and there were four potential wind farms in the pipeline for the region as well.

"We're making the most out of our environment: plenty of sunshine and beautiful weather conditions really does make this an optimal area," Cr Williams said.

"We've got everything, naturally, that we need to provide and it's just about putting that infrastructure in to do that."

Renewable energy projects in the pipeline near Rockhampton. PIC: Contributed
Renewable energy projects in the pipeline near Rockhampton. PIC: Contributed

 

The proposed wind farms are poised for north of Kalapa, at Boulder Creek between Westwood and Mount Morgan, and around Mount Hopeful's television transmitter station.

There are also plans for a solar farm at Bouldercombe and a renewable energy project at Moah Creek.

There are also plans for battery storage at many of these locations.

Cr Williams said electricity generation was one of the region's strengths since the construction of the Stanwell Power Station in 1996.

"The locations that we've got are in rural areas and they need to be engineered, designed and tested at locations that will provide use of those wind-powered turbines," he said.

He said the wind turbines would be able to run at night-time.

"So you're covering all your energy needs through the day and the night," Cr Williams said.

"You'll be able to replace some of those... traditional power station requirements."

Advance Rockhampton executive manager Greg Bowden said the plan was to develop Central Queensland into a renewable energy hub.

He said about 11 projects were on the books in the Rockhampton region and each would generate about 200 to 300 jobs each.

And there are many more planned around wider the Central Queensland area.

"We're looking at this as a wider region. We're looking at this as Central Queensland becoming a renewable energy hotspot," he said.

As to why he wanted Central Queensland to be an 'energy' hotspot, Mr Bowden said because everyone used energy.

He hopes these renewable projects will help reduce power prices in the future, although pricing is ultimately in the domain of the State Government.

"The State Government made the decision to go to Gladstone [for the hydrogen project] and we have no problem with that," he said.

"It's about the wider region and making sure the jobs stay in our region here in Central Queensland."

It can be a lengthy process to get new projects approved and there's usually a two year construction period after approval, but some projects are already ready to begin construction.

"Our feedback is saying that the Queensland Government regulators and departments are really committed to this process, including the coordinator general in making them work, so much better to deal with than other state authorities," Mr Bowden said.

The Bouldercombe solar farm already has approval and the Clark Creek Wind Farm is expected to begin construction mid-year.

"If all the proposed developments go ahead, our region will play a key role in producing alternative energy sources to complement the energy produced from more traditional sources," he said.



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