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Queensland Commences Construction on $5 Billion Transmission Project

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‘This is the most transformative project for the north of our state since the arrival of the steam locomotive in the 19th century,’ Queensland’s premier said.

Queensland has started construction work on a $5 billion (US$3.37 billion) transmission project as part of the state government’s push toward renewable energy.

The CopperString project is an 840-kilometre high-voltage transmission line that will connect south of Townsville to Mount Isa.

It is expected to be completed by 2029 and provide renewable energy to mining companies in the North West Minerals Province, which has mining deposits valued at $500 billion.

The Queensland government said the landmark project would unlock “world-class renewable resources and critical minerals” for the transition to net zero emissions.

“This is a visionary project that will change Queensland forever,” Queensland Deputy Premier Cameron Dick told reporters.

“This is the most transformative project for the north of our state since the arrival of the steam locomotive in the 19th century.”

Echoing the sentiment, Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the CopperString project was “supercharging” North Queensland’s jobs, industry and economic future.

“The renewable energy transition presents the biggest job opportunity our state has ever seen, and with the majority of Queensland’s clean economy jobs based in regional Queensland, towns like Hughenden will be some of the first to benefit,” he said.

Construction work will first begin on the project’s accommodation site, which could house up to 550 people. The site is expected to be completed by early 2025.

After that, workers will build a nearby substation and do early-stage construction before working on the CopperString high-voltage transmission line in mid-2025.

At present, Queensland has achieved its 2030 emissions reduction target of 30 percent.

In April 2024, the state Labor government tabled legislation committing to achieving a 75 percent emission reduction by 2035.

$26 Billion Renewable Investment

The CopperString project’s launch comes just a month after the Queensland government announced that it would invest $26 billion in renewable projects across the state over four years.

The spending package was part of the 2024-25 Queensland budget.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles described this as the largest investment in publicly-owned renewable energy assets in Australia.

He also claimed he has no other option but to spend the money to achieve the state’s emission targets.

“We don’t have an option. If Queensland doesn’t meet our renewable energy targets, jobs and growth will be devastated,” he said.

“Manufacturing would go offshore, and regional jobs and industries would be lost.”

Meanwhile, the state Opposition has expressed support for the Labor government’s renewable projects.

Monica O’Shea contributed to this article.

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