Australian billionaire to invest AU$3bn in Queensland renewables hub

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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the investment would take the region closer to reach its 50% renewable energy goal by 2030. Image: Genex Power.

Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s Squadron Energy will invest AU$3 billion (US$2.16 billion) in a wind, solar and battery storage project in Central Queensland, Australia.

Squadron Energy has bought Stage One and Two of the Clarke Creek farm to what the company said to be the largest renewable energy facility in the southern hemisphere, with speculation that the project could combine in excess of 1.4GW of wind and solar with 2GWh of battery energy storage.

“We have commenced construction of what will be the largest renewable energy precinct in the southern hemisphere – but I am delighted to say that we will not hold this record for long, with other renewable energy projects under development that will surpass our project in scale. We intend to bring on other projects which will be larger than today’s record,” said Forrest.

The company expected the project would help lower power prices, create local jobs and Clarke Creek’s grid-generation would be able to displace 2.7 million tonnes of carbon each year.

The construction of Stage One is ongoing with an estimation to be finished by 2024, while Stage Two would be operational by 2026.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the investment would take Queensland closer to reach its 50% renewable energy goal by 2030.

In June 2021, Queensland announced they would invest A$2 billion (US$1.55 billion) on renewables and hydrogen jobs as it targets to reach 50% clean energy by 2030.

Last December, Fortescue’s Future Industries, of which Forrest is the founder, partnered with Australian energy major AGL Energy to examine potential coal assets that could be repurposed for renewable powered green hydrogen facilities.

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