The renewable energy industry is growing at a rapid pace as the world moves to cut emissions as part of a decarbonising global economy. REZs will be a key tool for ensuring this transformation is coordinated and provides positive outcomes for developers, communities and other stakeholders.
The Queensland Government, working with Powerlink Queensland, has identified 12 potential REZs across Southern, Central and Northern Queensland regions. The indicative location, size and timing of these REZs is based on developer interest, analysis of available network capacity, renewable resources and land use.
Through REZ development, there will be an opportunity to broaden and coordinate our community investment and target larger investment programs that provide a significant positive legacy for our regions.
The Queensland REZ Framework detailed in the Draft REZ Roadmap follows a four-stage process:
Stage 1 - Planning
Early engagement and investigations into potential sites and areas of potential REZ development signalled through the REZ Roadmap.
Stage 2 - Declaration
The REZ is declared and draft REZ Management Plan published for consultation with communities by the REZ Delivery Body (Powerlink) alongside market engagement.
Stage 3 - Construction and operations
The final REZ Management Plan is published. Construction of REZ infrastructure begins. As the REZ progresses projects connect over time and begin generating.
Stage 4 - Commissioned
REZ capacity fully subscribed and projects continue to generate electricity into the grid. Remediation or refurbishment take place as projects reach end of life.
This framework will be enabled in legislation through the draft Energy (Renewable Transformation and Jobs) Bill, scheduled for introduction to Parliament in late 2023.
All Powerlink projects within a REZ will continue to undergo a comprehensive engagement process and follow a rigorous planning and project approval pathway focused on finding an alignment with the least overall impact across a range of social, environmental and economic criteria.
It is anticipated that Powerlink will carry out some new roles in Queensland REZ delivery. This would include Powerlink performing the function of REZ Delivery Body.*
As the REZ Delivery Body, Powerlink would coordinate how and when renewable projects connect to the network in Renewable Energy Zones. This would help ensure the right generation mix, in the right location and at the right time.
In delivering REZs, Powerlink will also coordinate engagement activities with the Queensland Government and renewable energy developers to ensure landholders, communities and other stakeholders can provide input and feedback, and influence decision-making and planning.
*The consultation paper for the exposure draft Energy (Renewable Transformation and Jobs) Bill states that the Queensland Government anticipates Powerlink would perform the REZ Delivery Body function.