A REZ is a geographic area which has high quality renewable resources like wind and solar, suitable topography and land available to support the connection of renewable projects.

Development of a REZ allows multiple generators to be connected in the one location, producing cost effective, grid-connected renewable energy.

 

The three QREZ – Northern, Central, and Southern – are areas that will be developed in a coordinated way to support new and existing industries, complement local communities and deliver a diverse mix of cleaner, cheaper and reliable energy generation. The three QREZ group together areas identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator as having the right conditions for REZ development. These areas were identified based on a range of criteria including quality of the solar and wind resources, suitability of terrain for renewable project development and proximity to transmission infrastructure.

Each broad QREZ region has unique renewable energy potential, infrastructure, industry and community considerations that will require a tailored approach to long-term development. In line with this, the Queensland Government is seeking feedback from communities, industry and energy stakeholders on how to deliver real and lasting benefits for the mostly regional communities that will host QREZ investment. Feedback gathered through this consultation will inform the development of the broader QREZ framework. A further Technical Discussion Paper will be released later this year for feedback on the preferred QREZ model including approach to planning, connections, funding, economic regulation and access. Consultation includes a survey and other submissions on specific topics, more information here:

Powerlink has been working with project proponent Neoen Australia, Cleanco Queensland and the Queensland Government to establish the state’s first REZ.

The northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (QREZ) is a large area stretching between Mackay and Cairns encompassing the northern most extent of Powerlink’s transmission network. The northern QREZ groups a number of candidate REZ areas identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator. 

As a first stage in delivering the northern QREZ, we have identified network upgrades south of Cairns that will improve security of energy supply to Cairns and make the network in the north more storm and cyclone resilient and unlock up to 500 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity in Far North Queensland.

By connecting multiple renewable generators in the one location, we are able to connect cost effective, grid-connected renewable energy.  

Regulatory consultation

Powerlink completed the funded augmentation consultation for development of the Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone in September 2021. 

The three stage consultation process which commenced in June 2021 has been conducted in accordance with the requirements of sections 5.18 and 8.9 of the National Electricity Rules. 

Given the technical and economic analysis undertaken and the positive and supportive nature of the submissions received and meetings undertaken as part of the consultation, Powerlink considers that the proposed transmission network augmentation to increase the hosting capacity in North Queensland will provide an opportunity for the efficient and coordinated development of renewable energy sources in the region. 

Powerlink’s final determination is to enable the development of the Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone by establishing a third 275kV connection into Woree Substation by 2023. 

Stage 3, publication of the Final Report and Determination (Final Report) on 17 September 2021, concluded the stakeholder consultation process for the Northern QREZ. The Final Report, other publications and submissions received during the consultation process are available in the section on the right.