PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Queensland government’s planned electricity Super Grid could deliver a A$740-billion resource boom for the state, by opening up the resource-rich North West minerals province, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
The Super Grid was announced as part of the state government’s A$62-billion Energy and Jobs Plan unveiled this week.
Palaszczuk on Thursday said that building transmission infrastructure from Townsville to Hughenden and eventually Mount Isa would unlock hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.
The new transmission link has the potential to plug into the proposed $1.7-billion Copperstring 2.0 network, the Premier said.
“Our plan for a clean energy economy means lower electricity costs for Queensland’s remote mining and industrial operations.
“This will spur new investment in rare earth minerals mining such as the copper, zinc, vanadium and cobalt that are so important for renewable energy generation and battery storage systems.
“And that will drive even more good, secure jobs in new industries.
“Right now, mining is the most energy-intensive industry in Queensland. But it’s also one of our most important, employing 77 000 Queenslanders and contributing greatly to our economy,” Palaszczuk said.
“Our plan provides miners with access to more affordable, more reliable electricity, while allowing them to decarbonise their operations.”
Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan would also be the catalyst for more large-scale renewable energy projects throughout the state’s north and northwest.
“Independent analysis shows Queensland will need an additional 22 GW of large-scale wind and solar capacity by 2035 to achieve our decarbonisation ambitions,” he said.
“The state government will link renewable energy generators in North West Queensland to the national electricity market. We will provide certainty that large-scale wind and solar farms already planned for the Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone will be able to feed their clean electricity into the national grid.
“This new link will spark significant investment in new clean energy projects along the transmission corridor, like the A$2.6-billion Mount James Wind Farm already proposed for Hughenden.
“This means thousands of jobs for Queensland.”
Minister for Resources Scott Stewart said mining activity currently consumes around 20% of Queensland’s electricity, yet most mines operate off the electricity grid through gas and diesel generation.
“Access to the national electricity market will mean lower energy costs for large mining and industrial operations which typically pay higher electricity prices than their grid-connected competitors,” he said.
“The mining sector also has a very high exposure to energy price shocks, such as those we’ve witnessed through global instability this year.”
The Copperstring project is currently subject to regulatory and commercial processes.
“We’ll continue to work with the Copperstring 2.0 proponents on a delivery model to ensure Queenslanders benefit from clean energy opportunities for generations to come,” De Brenni said.