The Queensland government says its energy corporation Stanwell, a major provider of electricity, plans to build Australia's largest state-owned wind farm in the South Burnett region.
The proposal would see the Tarong West Wind Farm built at Ironpot, 30 kilometres south-west of Kingaroy.
The government has announced a $776 million injection of funds for the project, which will be drawn from the state's $2 billion Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs fund.
"This project with up to 150 turbines could generate 500MW capacity, enough clean electricity to power up to 230,000 homes," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
"It's investments like this that will ensure we deliver on our net-zero ambitions and our promise to Queenslanders to become a global renewable energy superpower," she said.
The government has committed to achieve 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, and zero net emissions by 2050.
Currently more than 20 per cent of the state's electricity is produced from renewable energy sources — including rooftop solar and solar and wind farms.
It is expected the project will involve around 200 construction jobs and 15 ongoing jobs when it becomes operational.
The Premier visited the site in the state's Southern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone today, ahead of what she said will be major announcement on energy and climate change on Wednesday.
A final decision on the wind farm proposal is expected in 2024.
If approved, construction would begin the same year with the wind farm to become operational from 2026.
Project 'supports decarbonisation' of Stanwell's portfolio
Ms Palaszczuk said the project meant Queenslanders would own the wind farm and it would go towards boosting the amount of the state's electricity produced from renewable energy sources.
"This is the way the world is transitioning," she said.
"It's great news for our economy, it's a clean green renewable energy.
"It's something that our government is absolutely committed to.
"We have more and more investment coming onto our books which means that there are going to be a lot more of the scale of these wind farms and solar farms."
Ms Palaszczuk said she would outline Queensland's energy plan in an "important" EDA State of the State address on Wednesday.
Treasurer Cameron Dick said the project would boost Stanwell's asset portfolio, and was expected to provide substantial commercial value — giving it dispatch control of significant renewable generation capacity.
Stanwell sells wholesale electricity into the National Energy Market and also sells electricity to large commercial and industrial clients through its retail business, Stanwell Energy.
It owns and operates the coal-fired Stanwell Power Station near Rockhampton and the Tarong power stations in southern Queensland.
Stanwell's chief executive Michael O'Rourke said it would be a significant milestone for the publicly-owned corporation.
"The Tarong West Wind Farm project supports decarbonisation of our existing portfolio and will help us to meet our customers' demand for renewable energy products," he said.
"It will also provide future career development opportunities for our people."
The Queensland government has designated three renewable energy zones for development, in areas the Australian Energy Market Operator has identified as having high-quality wind and solar resources.
Push to ensure 'visual and non-environmental impact' mitigated
South Burnett Regional Council CEO Mark Pitt said discussions surrounding the project had been happening for several years.
"There's been some engagement previously with some original components, but this will certainly accelerate that now," Mr Pitt said.
"But one of the things that we've been advocating for as a council is a similar standard, like, if a coal mine was put in the same spot, that there was regulatory controls to ensure visual and non-environmental impact were mitigated."
He said the council has been advocating for a "level playing field" for regulatory controls across all future projects.
Mr Pitt said council had learnt many lessons surrounding the construction process after a previous wind farm was built nearby in Coopers Gap.
"We found, as a downstream impact from Coopers Gap, a lot of sand and materials were coming from our regional systems," he said.
"So now [we'll ensure we have] environmental controls and making sure everyone is on the same page before the first tower goes up."
Battery project for renewables opened
The government today also officially opened two parts of a $40 million battery project for storing renewable energy across the state.
The battery project was opened in Kleinton, north of Toowoomba, and at Townsville's Black River battery project — two of five units constructed across regional Queensland.
Other battery locations, at varied stages of construction, include Hervey Bay, Bargara and Yeppoon.
The batteries store up to eight megawatts of excess renewable energy produced during the day and are used during periods of peak demand in the evening.
Queensland Minister for Education and Industrial Relations Grace Grace said the stored energy from the batteries are used locally.
"We are generating all of this solar, renewable energy, and what's best is we are able to store it," Ms Grace said.
Each battery can store the equivalent of 800 houses of rooftop solar energy.
With 42 per cent of Queensland households fitted with solar panels, Energy Queensland CEO Rod Duke said more storage batteries are key for the future.
"Queensland leads the world in terms of rooftop solar penetration," Mr Duke said.
"That's going to continue ... we're going to need more storage like this battery in order to soak up that sunshine."
The State Government has approved 12 new units across Queensland, with locations to be confirmed.