The Queensland Government is investing $40 million for energy network upgrades in the Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (QREZ) region to unlock up to 500 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy potential in Far North Queensland.
This investment will upgrade transmission lines between Cairns and Townsville to support new projects – including the Kaban Green Power Hub wind farm – in the north and improve the security of energy supply to Cairns.
Far North Queensland has some of the strongest wind and solar resources in Australia. In particular, wind is often blowing while solar farms are not generating electricity, which helps to balance the energy system.
Kaban Green Power Hub
The first Northern QREZ project is Neoen Australia’s 157 MW Kaban Green Power Hub wind farm worth over $370 million. The construction of the wind farm and transmission infrastructure is expected to support 250 near-term construction jobs, with hundreds of additional jobs in the long-term as the Northern QREZ is further developed.
Construction is under way with the project expected to be operational in 2023.
The Kaban wind farm is backed by an ‘offtake agreement’ with CleanCo Queensland to buy wind energy to supply some of Queensland’s largest businesses with reliable, globally competitive, low emissions energy.
An offtake agreement is when an energy company agrees to purchase the energy produced by a project. These agreements are often made before the project is even built as an offtake agreement can often help a project get final investment approval.
You can learn more about the project at Neoen’s Kaban Green Power Hub project website.
Unlocking renewable potential - explained
Transmission lines are how energy generation projects such as wind farms or solar farms deliver energy into the grid and supply energy to homes, business and industry. Large transmission lines and associated technology are limited in how much energy they can carry and therefore how many projects they can support.
‘Unlocking renewable potential’ is a saying used when a transmission line is upgraded, or a new line is built, which not only meets the needs of current generation projects but leaves space (capacity) to support more renewable projects in the future.