September 28 (Renewables Now) - The Queensland government on Wednesday unveiled a AUD-62-billion (USD 39.6bn/EUR 41.4bn) energy and jobs plan that is meant to enable the Australian state to build a renewables-based “SuperGrid” and reduce reliance on coal-fired power generation by 2035.
The SuperGrid is seen as a network connecting solar, wind, energy storage and hydrogen generation across the state, with the potential to unlock 22 GW of new renewables, the government said. The plan includes battery installations but also the construction of two gigantic pumped storage hydro facilities capable of delivering up to 7 GW of long-duration storage.
According to Queensland deputy premier Steven Miles, the two new pumped hydro power plants would be bigger than Australia’s Snowy Mountains Scheme, a 4.1-GW multi-station hydroelectric complex with 600 MW of pumping capacity.
The government also proposed to gradually convert all publicly-owned coal-fired power plants into backup units but mainly into clean energy hubs by 2035, with each site hosting site-specific technologies according to local characteristics. At one of those sites, Queensland will build its first hydrogen-ready gas peaking plant.
The whole effort will help Queensland source 70% of its power supply from renewables by 2032 and 80% by 2035, compared to the previous target of 50% renewable energy by 2030.
The plan will be financed through a combination of public and private investments, but the public will 100% own transmission and distribution grids and the two pumped hydro stations. The public will also have a majority ownership in the generation assets, the government said.
“This plan is all about cheaper, cleaner and secure energy for Queenslanders,” said Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. “It is about turbo-charging new investment in new minerals, batteries and manufacturing. […] This plan makes Queensland the renewable energy capital of the world.”
(AUD 1.0 = USD 0.638/EUR 0.668)