Premier’s ‘green’ dream rests on vital grid expansion

Nov 15, 2022

Premier’s ‘green’ dream rests on vital grid expansion

Nov 15, 2022

There will be no “green” in Queensland’s hydrogen future if the Palaszczuk and Albanese Labor Governments do not settle on a start-date for the construction of game-changing CopperString 2.0 project, Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has said.

Mr Katter’s warning follows Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s announcement yesterday that North-West Queensland would host one of the State’s largest ever renewable energy projects, with Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and Windlab partnering to build a 10GW wind and solar power-generating Super Hub at Prairie and Wongalee.

This is in addition to Windlab’s Kennedy Energy Park at Hughenden where Phase 1 is currently operating but is hamstrung by transmission deficiencies and Phase 2, if realised, could provide a massive 1,200MW of renewable power.

Another 1,000MW in wind power is mooted by Iberdrola for generation out of Mount James (80km north of Hughenden) while QEM is canvassing renewable energy generation options at its vanadium mine at Julia Creek.

But Mr Katter said there was one vital component amiss across all North West renewable projects – a transmission line to transport their “green” energy into the national grid.

“None of the projects that the Premier is so excited about will be realised unless a transmission line is built and connects North West Queensland to the national electricity market (NEM) in Townsville – they’re all pipe dreams until then,” he said.

“It has never been plainer that CopperString 2.0 is the key to unlocking the potential of the North-West.

“We can’t realistically have a conversation about any of Windlab, Fortescue, Iberdrola or QEM’s plans until we know when CopperString 2.0 is going to be built, and the Premier knows this.

“Thankfully it is the most advanced transmission project in the nation and, having just finalised its last environmental hurdle by securing approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, is essentially ready to go.

“Construction can commence as early as March, 2023, and I’m imploring the Premier and Prime Minister to both commit to making this date a reality.”

Mr Katter said, beyond enabling renewable energy industry expansion, CopperString 2.0 would provide 800 jobs in its construction phase and an additional 3,500 ongoing mining jobs by untapping the $740 billion worth of proven mineral resources that remain unmined in and around the Mount Isa region.