Queensland to recycle dividends into $288m power plan

The state’s energy infrastructure programme will include a $112m investment in a new transmission line to unlock 2GW of renewable energy projects in the north.

Queensland’s budget for 2017-2018, to be released on 13 June, will include an A$386 million ($288 million; €257 million) investment into the Powering North Queensland plan, according to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The Australian state’s energy infrastructure plan aims to strengthen and diversify the region’s energy supply with various electricity infrastructure schemes, including a new transmission line and several renewable energy projects.

The plan will see A$150 million worth of dividends distributed by state-owned transmission company Powerlink reinvested in the development of a new transmission line. The project is expected to create a 1.2GW clean energy hub connecting a 75MW wind farm at Forsayth being developed by Infigen, Genex’s 520 Kidston hydro and solar plant, and the Kennedy Energy Park. 

The transmission scheme could help unlock around 2GW of wind, pumped hydro and solar projects in North Queensland, said the Premier. 

Under the plan, the recycling of A$100 million of dividends from state-owned Stanwell Corporation will help fund the proposed hydroelectric power station at Burdekin Falls Dam. 

In addition to that, the Queensland government will inject A$100 million of equity into SunWater, a regional water infrastructure developer, and reinvest dividends to deliver improvement works to the dam, the state’s largest.
The government said it aims to start building the hydropower project by 2020, subject to feasibility studies and other dam construction works. 

The plan also includes commissioning a hydroelectric study to assess options for deploying new hydro plants in the state. 

“We’re ensuring our government-owned corporations are delivering new energy infrastructure and energy security to drive new investments in energy projects and new jobs in regional Queensland,” said Curtis Pitt, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment. “The extensive pipeline of clean energy projects is also opening the door for the region to become a hub for the renewable manufacturing and services industry.”

Since January 2016, North Queensland has seen an “unprecedented” level of renewable energy investment activity, with more than 830MW of large-scale projects either commencing construction or finalising commercial arrangements, said Palaszczuk, adding that these projects will deliver A$1.6 billion of estimated infrastructure spending.