Australian First Renewable Energy Industrial Zone takes a key step forward in outback Queensland

A new entity has been formed to create an Australian first renewable energy industrial development in rural Queensland that will lead the way in renewable manufacturing  and double local employment.

A renewable energy company and a central western Queensland economic development body have formed “The Zone” a joint venture in Barcaldine in central western Queensland to create a renewable energy industrial zone, to boost jobs and investment in the region.

Sunshot Energy and the Remote Area Planning and Development board (RAPAD) have submitted an application for Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to kick start the renewable energy industrial zone development.

This project will immediately double the number of jobs in Barcaldine and provide a basis for continued expansion of employment and income.

Sunshot Energy Chairman, Ross Garnaut says it will provide a model for rural industrial development throughout western Queensland and Northern Australia.

“The Barcaldine Renewable Energy Industrial Zone will be an important step in regional Australia playing a central role in building Australia as a Superpower in the emerging zero carbon global economy,” Professor Garnaut said.

The Zone would provide zero carbon low-cost energy for industrial users, and water, land, transport and communications and other services necessary for new industrial activities. It would demonstrate innovative zero carbon supply chains for agricultural inputs and for processing agricultural and mineral products.

The Zone would host the first commercial scale zero carbon hydrogen plant in Australia. It would also be the first site manufacturing Vanadium Electrolyte, and using the electrolyte for Vanadium flow batteries that provide storage volume and dispatch capacity suited to industrial customers.

In cooperation with local land restoration groups the Zone would use waste biomass for pyrolysis to produce char, bio-oil and bio-gas. The combustion of bio-energy for use in the Zone would also produce renewable carbon dioxide for accelerated growth in horticultural greenhouses and for conversion of renewable hydrogen-based ammonia to urea. It will initially use biomass from the invasive species prickly acacia and then biomass from new biodiverse plantings of trees with multiple sources of value, including soil regeneration.

The Zone will also support intensive horticulture, production of charcoal, and other manufacturing including production of essential oils from suitable eucalypts and eremophila mitchelli (Budah Bush).

Brisbane based oil and gas exploration company Galilee Energy is exploring options to use the industrial hub as a base for supplies and electricity generation.

Galilee Energy will explore options in the Zone including carbon capture and storage and substitution of Zone hydrogen in gas pipes.

Renewable energy supplied to the site will be provided by Sunshot Energy.

In addition to low-cost energy The Zone will provide services including water, transport infrastructure and other services required by businesses seeking to establish a presence in the Renewable Energy Industrial Zone.

RAPAD CEO David Arnold says their modelling shows stage one of the project would generate $183 million investment, 290 construction jobs and 305 ongoing full time jobs.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the new chapter in Western Queensland’s history as it builds on the regionʼs economic base creating future jobs for the Barcaldine community and our broader regions,” Mr Arnold said.

Stages two and three are also expected to generate enormous investment.

Stage 2. Total with stage two will generate $884 million investment, 610 construction jobs and 507 ongoing full-time jobs.
Stage 3. Total with stage three (extension with Galilee Energy) 1.527 billion investment, 1090 construction jobs and 572 ongoing full-time jobs.


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