New Super Hub renewable energy projects proposed for North QLD

Monica Gameng   |   November 18, 2022
wind and solar energy sources (cr: Pixabay - Kenueone)

The State’s largest ever renewable energy projects are a step closer to becoming a reality as global green energy company Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and Australian-owned clean energy operator Windlab partner up to deliver the North Queensland Super Hub (NQSH). 

The proposed Super Hub is planned to feed green energy to the electricity grid as well as 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. 

“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,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. 

NQSH is anticipated to generate more than 10GW of wind and solar power as well as underpin the production of green hydrogen from facilities within the State. With Queensland’s natural resources, the State has the potential to supply green hydrogen globally. 

Detailed planning is currently underway for the massive renewable project that will involve the delivery of the 800MW Prairie Wind Farm and the 1,000MW Wongalee project in the first stage – which is due to begin construction in 2025. 

The Prairie Wind Farm project is anticipated to support up to 240 jobs during its construction and about 10 to 15 permanent, full-time jobs once it is operational. 

The projects are expected to begin producing green energy by 2027. 

“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. 

“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,” Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said. 

The development of the North Queensland Super Hub is going to be a game-changer for the State. 

Fortescue Future Industries’ CEO Mark Hutchinson said that the nation’s natural resources – including wind, sun and landmass – are unrivalled assets for their potential in producing green energy, particularly green hydrogen. 

“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,” Mr Hutchinson said. 

According to Windlab CEO John Martin, the company has spent about 10 years to learn about the region’s renewable resources while, at the same time, building relationships with the local community as well as stakeholders. 

“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. 

“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,” Mr Martin said. 

NQSH will help accelerate the development of the Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (QREZ) and it will sit at the heart of the State’s SuperGrid that is made up of wind and solar projects as well as battery storage and pumped hydro. The SuperGrid will supply Queensland with reliable, affordable and clean energy in the future. 

“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,” the Premier said. 

Source: Queensland Government – Media Statements; Fortescue Future Industries; Windlab; Australian Mining; ABC News 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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