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Queensland hails public ownership as key to energy transition, launches EOI for 250MW battery storage project


The government of Queensland has said its strategy of keeping its energy sector in public ownership will be key to an orderly transition away from fossil fuels.

The claim was made in a statement from the Australian state’s energy minister, Mick de Brenni, as a plan to develop a new Clean Energy Hub including a 250MW battery energy storage system (BESS) was announced last week.  

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Regular readers of and our sister site PV Tech will likely be aware that the Queensland government’s recently implemented Energy and Jobs Plan not only puts in place a target for 70% renewable energy by 2032, but also seeks to develop out the state’s clean energy value chain, from raw materials to manufacturing of equipment like solar PV modules and batteries.

“The Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan is all about a future of cheaper, cleaner and secure energy for Queenslanders, with 70% of it renewable by 2032. While southern states like NSW are seeing a disorderly transition, where privatisation has ripped the heart out of their energy grid, Queenslanders can be assured that their energy system will be safe, stable, and secure for the future,” de Brenni, whose full job title is Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement.

“Because we’ve kept the system in public ownership, we can control the transition by not shutting the gate on our power stations, their workers, or communities who will play a leading role in the energy transformation.”

The Clean Energy Hub would be built at the site of Swanbank power station, a 385MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant owned and operated by state-owned energy group CleanCo near the Queensland city of Ipswich. Going further back, the site was formerly an important part of the legacy coal-based economy of the region, including mining and generation.

The site already has an existing 1.2GW grid connection point, in what was described in a ministerial statement as a strong part of the Queensland network.

The Clean Energy Hub would include solar PV generation, battery storage and green hydrogen, and CleanCo has launched an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the 250MW BESS and seeking community input on the project.

In addition to the battery project, CleanCo is also seeking expressions of interest for “alternative energy options including potential hydrogen production and hydrogen use, while also exploring alternative energy storage options,” according to CEO Tom Metcalfe.

Metcalfe said that community engagement aspect would include an “authentic co-design process,” and that CleanCo will be “asking the community to reimagine the future of the Swanbank Clean Energy Hub to ensure we balance social, commercial, environmental and economic outcomes for the region”.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 1st Energy Storage Summit Asia, 11-12 July 2023 in Singapore. The event will help give clarity on this nascent, yet quickly growing market, bringing together a community of credible independent generators, policymakers, banks, funds, off-takers and technology providers. For more information, go to the website.

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