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Darling Downs renewables zone gets green light

THE Queensland Government has committed to setting up and funding a Darling Downs Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, during her annual State of the State address this afternoon, announced three areas in Queensland would share $145 million to "unlock" renewable energy corridors.

Those areas were north Queensland, central Queensland and south-west Queensland.

"In the south-west the Darling Downs renewable energy zone will meet demand from agricultural production and has the potential to help supply New South Wales," the Premier said.

"These renewable energy zones will support Powerlink to invest further funding and CleanCo to increase their publicly owned renewable generation capacity to deliver energy security.

"I don't want to just deliver renewable energy zones - I want to deliver industrial zones and hydrogen hubs - because that means more secure full-time manufacturing jobs."

A REZ is the co-ordinated planning and construction of new grid infrastructure in areas that are rich in renewable energy resources such as wind and solar.

It is about connecting and planning multiple generators and storage systems in the same region, basically becoming the renewable energy equivalent of a power station, to secure the energy system.

Queensland Conservation Council green recovery campaigner Dave Copeman told The Chronicle last month REZs were a planning instrument the State Government could create to build common energy infrastructure and offer energy projects a stable entry point into the market.

"Instead of every proponent having to measure their impacts on the grid (individually), you actually create a zone so they can feed into that," he said.

"(Creating) the REZs says that the State Government will put in the planning and build some of the infrastructure."

The Premier said this would "drive new investment in renewable energy and manufacturing".

The Darling Downs is home to several large renewable energy projects such as the Coopers Gap Wind Farm and the Yarranlea Solar Farm.

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