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Townsville Enterprise believes the North is perfectly positioned to turbocharge the nation’s transition to net zero by 2050 and has laid out a plan to light the way.

“All the ingredients for a sustainable future are right here in North Queensland, and the pipeline of projects to achieve the national target are within reach but we need all levels of government to enact a bold vision and invest in nation-building projects that will positively benefit all Australians,” chief executive officer Claudia Brumme-Smith said.

The regional economic development group says projections show that unlocking North Queensland’s renewable energy potential could provide a total economic output of $1 billion annually from production of up to one million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2040.

Townsville Enterprise, in partnership with key stakeholders in regional energy production, is putting forward a plan identifying six key enabling projects to harness the region’s potential as a renewable energy powerhouse and a proposed investment structure to bring this to reality.

It says Northern Australia can be the renewable energy centre of the world but it will only be through private and public partnerships that new investment can be achieved.

“The industry isn’t looking for just government handouts but rather strategies that underwrite the risk in the startup phase,” Ms Brumme-Smith said.

“Now is the time for investment, we need to partner with the international finance market and turbocharge the transition of our economy.” 


IMAGE: Townsville Enterprise chief executive officer Claudia Brumme-Smith with Windlab construction manager Martin Vries at Kennedy Energy Park in the Flinders Shire.

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The key projects highlighted include CopperString 2.0 – a 1000km high-voltage line proposed to connect Mount Isa, Cloncurry and the North West Minerals Province to the National Electricity Grid.

CuString managing director Joseph O’Brien said that project alone was forecast to deliver an aggregate increase in national income of $80 billion over the period to 2050 and, in collaboration with other major projects, could advance the national pathway to net zero.

“Our clean industrial ecosystem already exists, and it can be the first net zero industrial ecosystem in Australia,” he said.

“The Townsville to Mount Isa economic zone is already powering global renewable technologies with minerals reserves in copper and zinc, as well as wind and solar farms.”

The six key projects highlighted are:

CopperString 2.0 – this transmission infrastructure stretching between Townsville and North-West Queensland would support major hydrogen and renewable energy projects. 
Investment Required: $1.2bn
Potential Jobs: 2500 construction and 1000 ongoing 

Hells Gates Pumped Storage – this facility would produce 808MW of green power. It would be installed to transfer water from either Hells Gates Dam or the Burdekin River to enable power storage from renewable projects across the North West.
Investment Required: $2.1bn
Potential Jobs: 800 construction and up to 50 ongoing 

Recycled Water for Green Hydrogen Treatment – construction of a water plant and supporting infrastructure at Cleveland Bay would enable production of 15ML/day of industrial grade water to supply hydrogen proponents.
Investment Required: $31.2M
Potential Jobs: 59 construction and 24 ongoing  

Water Pipelines for Green Industries – connecting water supply pipelines would assist the Lansdown and Townsville State Development Area industrial precincts to reach their full potential.
Investment Required: $12M
Potential Jobs: 25 construction and 10 ongoing  

Port Expansion – the $1.6 billion Port Expansion Project is expected to drive forward hydrogen, batteries and new economy minerals. The provision of an additional industrial land and dedicated berthing facilities will enable a green energy export hub for the region.
Investment Required: $1.6bn
Potential Jobs: 2900 construction  

Lansdown Eco Industrial Precinct – this development supports the use of natural mineral resources for advanced manufacturing and production, as well as renewable energy from the co-located Majors Creek Solar Power Station.
Investment Required: $50M
Potential Jobs: 160 construction and 1603 ongoing