More than $1.4 billion worth of projects could flow into energy generation and transmission infrastructure in an unprecedented investment bonanza for the Mackay-Whitsundays.
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said more than $671 million worth of renewable generation construction was underway or committed, and a further $734 million in renewables could be in the pipeline.
“This region is fast becoming a solar and jobs powerhouse with $1.4 billion worth of projects under construction and on the drawing board,” he said.
“The Mackay-Whitsundays region is already home to 62 megawatts of renewable energy – and it is ready for the next round of renewable energy which is set to flow into its network.”
Assistant State Development Minister and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said Mackay needed energy infrastructure to cater for future development.
“The city is the major business centre for our region’s mining, agricultural and tourism industries,” she said.
“All of these investments will further secure electricity supply and will support continued development, including renewable energy connections.”
In the Mackay and Whitsunday region, five large-scale solar projects are under construction near Collinsville injecting $671 million in investment into the region.
When complete, they will deliver 357 megawatts of renewable energy to the grid, powering the equivalent of more than 140,000 homes, and creating 715 construction jobs.
Dr Lynham said six more projects worth $734 million were in the pipeline, offering 320 more renewable megawatts and 560 construction jobs.
These large-scale renewable projects are bolstered by Mackay’s existing 12,044 households with rooftop solar, which are generating almost 55 megawatts – an 11 per cent growth in the past 12 months - or more than 1200 homes.
Government-owned Powerlink and Ergon also have been on the ground securing the local grid investing over $24 million for upgrading local substations.
Powerlink is progressing the $24 million second stage of the upgrade at its Mackay substation.
Dr Lynham said a new transformer being installed would treble the capacity of the existing transformer.
Ergon Energy is upgrading its Tennyson Street substation which powers Mackay’s central business district, improving network performance and catering for future growth.
“Again, this is about ensuring that we can meet the city’s needs for many years to come, and boost capacity to cater for future,” he said.
“Mackay has a bright future ahead with a diverse economy and a renewable-ready grid – ready to power this region’s economy and its community.”