Technological and industrial innovation: Barcaldine renewable energy zone
Sunshine is abundant in Central West Queensland. It’s the best of its kind in Australia, if not the globe. AEMO rates the area with an A for its solar resources, one of only three in Australia. Add to that artesian water and significant biomass and CWQ has the perfect mix of inputs to innovate and disrupt Australia’s domestic energy supply chains.
Supply chains that are ripe for disruption.
Decarbonisation is a global megatrend being driven by policy and reinforced by consumers. Demand for decarbonised input is only growing; the mining sector is looking to hydrogen to decarbonise its processes; farmers support and are moving to net-zero emissions; and major retailers are looking to reduce emissions along their supply chains.
The Barcaldine Renewable Energy Zone, a partnership between RAPAD and Sunshot Industries, led by Professor Ross Garnaut AO, will take the region’s significant renewable resources and produce zero-emissions energy-intensive industrial materials and even fresh produce.
Powered ultimately by major solar and wind farms, it will include Australia’s first large-scale hydrogen-powered ammonia production plant, producing 60,000 tonnes of ammonia per annum. Part of this production will be an input into production of 100,000 tonnes of urea per annum. These materials will represent supply of zero-emissions domestic inputs to Queensland’s agricultural and mining sectors that currently rely heavily on imports.
In its first stage, the project has investment potential of $180 million. It is estimated to generate 290 construction jobs and 305 ongoing jobs.
The project’s second stage has investment potential of $880 million and is estimated to generate 600 construction jobs and 500 ongoing jobs.
The third stage has investment potential worth $1.5 billion.
With strong community and state-government support, the project is progressing through the pipeline toward Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) funding.