Gladstone is well positioned to become a world-leading precinct for heavy industries powered by renewable energy.
A new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) sets out how Gladstone can build on its success as an industrial and export centre to become a renewable energy powered hub for industries like aluminium, steel, cement and hydrogen.
“Gladstone is very well placed to build a bright renewable-powered future on its heavy industry foundations,” said Miles George, former CleanCo chief executive and current Australian Conservation Foundation board member.
“Given the age and unreliability of many of Queensland’s coal-fired power stations – and with the global market rapidly shifting towards green steel, aluminium, hydrogen and other products – investing in low cost, reliable, renewable power makes sense to secure a strong future for Gladstone’s heavy industry, particularly the Boyne aluminium smelter.”
Boyne Smelters Limited, just outside Gladstone, is the largest electricity user in Queensland, consuming around 13% of the state’s electricity. Aluminium smelters across Australia are struggling with the high costs of electricity.
“Instead of closing Australia’s loss-making, high pollution aluminium smelters, these smelters can be rapidly transformed to run on renewable electricity,” Mr George said.
“The transition to low cost renewable energy provides a valuable opportunity to modernise and reposition Australia’s aluminium smelting sector.
“Green aluminium – aluminium produced using renewable electricity – has a good long-term outlook and will be priced separately by the London Metals Exchange from next year.
“There are excellent solar and wind resources around Gladstone, sufficient to provide renewable generation to meet the needs of the region’s heavy industry.
“The Palaszczuk Government recently announced it will invest $145 million to establish three renewable energy zones in the state, including one in the Gladstone region.
“Large-scale renewable energy supply, smelter-provided demand side response and renewable hydrogen production could create a world class energy and industry precinct that will keep thousands of jobs in the region and generate growth for many years to come.”
An aluminium-led energy and industry renewal for Central Queensland (background brief)
An aluminium-led energy and industry renewal for Central Queensland (full IEEFA report)
Header pic courtesy Pacific Hydro / Danny Halstead