Barcaldine Renewable Energy Zone

RAPAD has taken the first steps to put our region ahead of the nation when it comes to fostering industries powered by renewables.

There is a real and achievable opportunity to grow a transformational industry, the likes not seen for a century, and RAPAD has started the journey toward realising that opportunity.

The most developed of our efforts is the Barcaldine Renewable Energy Zone.

Project’s value to CWQ

RAPAD’s focus on developing renewable energy powered industries through the Barcaldine Renewable Energy Zone is forecast to;

– Create 500 direct ongoing jobs
– Draw $883M in capital investment to set up tenant businesses
– Attract investment in or development of renewables in the central west
– Create confidence in the region and underpin other services for the community that improve with a growing population base like health, education and community services.

Project's value to CWQ
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From RAPAD beginnings

Having observed solar energy companies enter the region to build solar farms, RAPAD knew power-producing farms would have little long term impact on our region’s economy and we needed to do more. The solar farms while welcome, provided an economic injection mainly during construction and created very few long term jobs.

In 2017 we built a relationship with Professor Ross Garnaut AC, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Grattan Institute to start working on a plan to take our natural asset of some of the best solar resources in the world and convert it into new industries and jobs to grow and sustain our community.

After hosting visits and conducting meetings with industry experts, government departments, investors and key local stakeholders, RAPAD commissioned and released the “Realising the Big Vision” report and community consultation.

This report tested RAPADs belief and commitment to a renewable energy-driven economy.  It looked at the concepts of the strategy with communities across the region.  The report also introduced opportunities for developing circular economies.

Since 2018 RAPAD’s strategic plan has highlighted its drive to focus on renewable energy opportunities.  It also outlines a commitment to actively seeking out and partnering with companies and people who can make a real difference to our regional economy.

In 2020 the Barcaldine Renewable Energy Zone (BREZ) concept was formed in partnership with RAPAD, Professor Ross Garnaut and his company Sunshot and the Barcaldine Regional Council. As explained in “Barcaldine Renewable Energy Zone: A model for regions in transition” publication.

“The energy zone can be viewed as a prototype for zero-emission business development in regional Australia.

The scenario envisages regional economic benefits of $2.1 billion over ten years and around $5.4 billion over 30 years. In helping secure some 500 permanent jobs, with more in supporting services, it would return Barcaldine’s population to or above historic peaks and fully utilise established town infrastructure for the first time in many years.

The proposed model provides BREZ tenants with an all-service site including long extendable leases and reliable and globally cost-competitive green electricity and biochemical inputs. BREZ anchor tenants will focus on protected intensive horticulture, minerals processing and commercial-scale green hydrogen urea production supplied by pyrolytic conversion businesses. Co-location will enable supply chain optimisation of significant biochemical inputs achieving cost reductions by up to 80%. The model will facilitate the demonstration of leading-edge technologies, such as Green Distillation Technologies pyrolytic waste conversion process and Renergi‘s pyrolysis of municipal waste and mobile pyrolysis of biomass.

Federal funding through the Northern Australian Infrastructure Fund and support from the Queensland Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning under the Industry Partnership Program will be crucial to turning the BREZ project from feasibility study to reality.”

This is the best solar country in eastern Australia and just about as good as any in the world.

Professor Ross Garnaut AC

Learn more about working in the central west