Queensland plans world’s biggest pumped storage plant as part of clean energy plan

28 September 2022

Queensland in Australia could be home to the world’s largest pumped storage scheme under plans unveiled by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The plans for a bold clean energy future for Queensland unveiled by the premier include a 5GW pumped storage scheme in the Pioneer Valley near Mackay which will supply half of Queensland’s entire energy needs.

The $62 billion Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan envisages that 70% of Queensland’s energy supply will come from renewables by 2032, with 80% by 2035. It includes two new pumped hydro schemes at Pioneer/Burdekin and Borumba Dam by 2035, and a new Queensland SuperGrid connecting solar, wind, battery and hydrogen generators across the State, unlocking 22GW of new renewable capacity.

The plan also includes converting publicly owned coal fired-power stations to clean energy hubs to transition to, for example, hydrogen power, with jobs guarantees for workers. The plan is for Queensland’s publicly-owned coal-fired power stations to stop reliance on burning coal by 2035.

“This plan is all about cheaper, cleaner and secure energy for Queenslanders,” the Premier said in a statement. ““It is about turbo-charging new investment in new minerals, batteries and manufacturing. Renewable energy is the cheapest form of new energy. This plan makes Queensland the renewable energy capital of the world. It also takes real and decisive action on climate change providing the biggest commitment to renewable energy in Australia’s history.”

Treasurer Cameron Dick said Queensland’s energy transformation will provide the greatest jobs opportunity in a generation. “This empowers our regions in every sense of the word,” he said. “It will bring manufacturing back to the regions in all-new industries.”

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the Energy and Jobs Plan ensured Queensland’s power generators remain in public ownership: “This has proved vital to investment in cleaner, cheaper energy. We will maintain majority public ownership of generation and 100% public ownership of transmission and distribution.”

“This is the best news the Great Barrier Reef has had in years,” added Minister for the Environment and Great Barrier Reef Meaghan Scanlon. “It means emissions from energy will 

be cut by 90 per cent by 2035. This is what leadership looks like. This is real climate action.”

Other plans unveiled include 100,000 new jobs by 2040, most in regional Queensland, and building Queensland’s first hydrogen ready gas turbine. All projects are subject to environmental approvals.

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