A REIP is the region’s best jobs and investment opportunity, capitalising on existing skills and infrastructure. Economic modelling shows it would create 11,000 new, ongoing jobs by 2032. Plus, attract new capital investment of $7.8 billion and generate $2 billion in revenue per annum by 2032. Not to mention significant flow-on benefits including low-cost, firmed renewables for households, transportation and support for the broader grid.
diverse and established industry-innovating teaching and skills training infrastructure
Leading innovators and members of industry support a Gladstone-based Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct.
Economic modelling by ACIL Allen, commissioned by Beyond Zero Emissions and WWF-Australia, in 2022 shows a Gladstone REIP will unlock:
New capital investments for the region
Additional revenue per year
New jobs in the Gladstone region
Existing manufacturing jobs
Gladstone has the industry, skilled workers and infrastructure to become a renewable manufacturing superpower. Our report details the building of a renewable backbone for industry in Gladstone and the transmission and storage requirements of a Gladstone REIP.
Gladstone is home to a range of heavy industries and large energy users including Queensland Alumina and Yarwun Alumina (which combined make it the world’s largest alumina production port), Boyne aluminium smelter and the 3 LNG liquefaction plants on Curtis island. The aging coal-fired power station Gladstone Power Station sits in the heart of the city.
As well as the aluminium smelter, alumina refineries and the LNG plants, small and medium enterprises have been drawn to Gladstone’s industrial strengths, including cement and chemical manufacturing.
Gladstone’s skilled and nimble workforce is experienced in meeting the exacting high quality and safety standards required in constructing and operating large scale industrial plants.
Gladstone is at a crossroads. Diversifying the region’s energy mix is vital to the sustainability of its industries and to creating enduring jobs for locals. While the pace of energy transition is increasing, to maintain competitiveness Gladstone must now complete its energy reforms.
For example, ASX-listed company Alpha HPA is developing a new high-purity aluminium manufacturing plant which will supply products to the clean energy and mobility sector globally. It has committed to use renewable electricity in the plant.
Major local players, like Rio Tinto, Orica and Fortescue Future Industries, have announced plans to power operations with renewable energy, to supply products to the zero-emissions global market.
These plans are supported by the development of large new renewable energy projects in the wider Central Queensland region, including by Acciona, Central Queensland Power, Sunshine Hydro, Rodds Bay Solar Farm, Neoen, Epuron and Genex.
The scale of development in this region and across Queensland creates real opportunities to develop local supply chains and new manufacturing plants and businesses that service the renewable energy sector rather than purchasing supplies from overseas.
Ampcontrol, an innovative company that provides electrical, electronic and control solutions, recently opened a service centre that includes support for the renewable energy powered manufacturing roll-out in Gladstone.
Gladstone is adjacent to the Central Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (which includes the Fitzroy and Wide Bay Renewable Energy Zones) identified by the Queensland Government. The Gladstone State Development Area has identified a range of development-ready sites in locations with access to established infrastructure. These are particularly well suited for manufacturing and heavy industry uses.
Low-cost, reliable energy for the Gladstone Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct can be provided from the Central Queensland Renewable Energy Zone, which includes 2 GW of clean energy generation (including energy storage) from sites marked for new supply in the Central Queensland Power project, Rodds Bay Solar Farm (under development) and other projects.
The proposed Gladstone Grid Reinforcement (AEMO ISP) will help ensure reliable power supply. Beyond Zero Emissions is encouraging renewable energy developers and utilities to support the development of renewable energy industrial precincts by offering low-cost renewable energy supply to users within the precincts.
Central Queensland University in Gladstone offers a range of TAFE and higher education courses, as well as innovative research endeavours, and has strong ties to industry. This includes applied research expertise in hydrogen, microgrids and the implementation and optimisation of energy systems.
Alumina refining at Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL) and Yarwun Alumina Refinery have the potential to be powered by green hydrogen, with a consistent low price for firmed, reliable renewable energy providing long term cost savings for the Boyne smelter.
The Port of Gladstone, Cement Australia and the Orica Australia chemical processing complex are other flagship industries in Gladstone with potential to benefit from increased access to affordable, renewable energy including electricity and green hydrogen.
Construction of the Alpha HPA high purity aluminium complex is scheduled to commence in 2022.
There are at least six different green hydrogen and green chemical projects proposed for Gladstone, with a collective ambition to incorporate over 6 GW of green hydrogen electrolysers and, in an important example of local collaboration to reduce emissions, Rio Tinto is engaging with Sumitomo on a local hydrogen pilot and has partnered with ARENA to investigate the use of hydrogen for the decarbonisation of its alumina operations.
With gigawatts of new clean energy projects projected to be needed to support Gladstone’s existing heavy industry operations, significant opportunities also exist to develop new supply chain industries in and around Gladstone, such as electrolyser and wind turbine manufacture planned by Fortescue Future Industries. These activities create further new opportunities for economic diversification and job creation.