QEM has selected three non-binding indicative bids to develop, own and operate 1 GW of proposed wind and solar power to power its planned vanadium mining and oil shale project in Queensland, Australia.
A joint bid by Spanish energy giant Acciona Energia, Italy’s Enel Green Power and Australian energy heavyweight Origin and Sydney-based renewables Energy Estate has been selected to deliver one of Queensland’s largest renewable energy projects.
QEM said the tender to deliver the 1GW capacity project had attracted strong interest and commercial negotiations with the shortlisted parties would begin later this month.
QEM CEO Gavin Loyden said the company had prioritized the design and development of the renewable energy project with the primary goal of securing affordable power for its flagship Julia Creek project.
“Critical minerals like vanadium are vital to the global transition to clean energy,” he said. “There is an opportunity for QEM and the wider North West Minerals Province to tap into the region’s wind and solar resources above ground to explore, develop and refine the critical minerals that lie beneath.”
The proposed wind and solar project would not only supply energy to the proposed mine, but also connect to the A$5 billion ($3.3 billion) CopperString transmission line, which is due to connect Queensland’s isolated north-west to Australia’s national grid. The transmission project, delivered by Queensland’s state-owned grid operator Powerlink, is expected to connect an estimated 6GW of renewable energy resources to the national electricity market, while opening access to large mineral deposits considered key to the energy transition.
Colin Langton, Powerlink’s director of operations for the CopperString project, said “The scale of Julia Creek’s renewable energy production will be integral to the overall CopperString project… The high quality and huge potential scale of renewables in the region, north and north west is well-positioned to become a powerhouse for Queensland’s future .”
QEM said it has been conducting wind and solar monitoring in the Julia Creek area for the past 12 months to reduce the risk of the wind-solar hybrid project. Environmental assessments, topographic surveys, preliminary flood modeling and geotechnical surveys have also been carried out.
Loyden said the “very encouraging” monitoring results would form an integral part of the feasibility study for the proposed renewable project.