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Energy & Utilities

How CleanCo is building 5GW of renewables by 2030

10 Jan 2024, by Amy Sarcevic

The build required to meet the Queensland Government’s target of 70 percent renewables by 2032 is unprecedented, but CleanCo Queensland is rising to the challenge.

Recently, the organisation has been investing significantly in new renewable projects that complement its owned and operated firming generators.

Over the last six months, its investments via offtake agreements have supported the production of more than 730MW of renewable energy.

This has been achieved via three significant projects: the Western Downs Green Power Hub solar farm, Kaban Green Power Hub wind farm, and Dulacca Wind Farm.

Looking ahead, Chief Executive Tom Metcalfe says the company has an ambitious growth agenda and is spurring the development of 5GW of renewables by 2030, through a combination of owned assets and long-term offtake agreements.

“We are working closely with industry partners and host communities and actively pursuing opportunities to harness Queensland’s abundant natural resources in a responsible and sustainable way.

“Essentially, we are building the energy portfolio of the future – one that effectively leverages the benefits of publicly owned and operated generators, but also leans on the expertise and resources of the private sector through partnerships and offtake agreements,” he said.

Mr Metcalfe says this approach and volume is necessary to meet the needs of its growing customer base.

“We are seeing great demand at the moment and it’s largely led by our customers. They are looking for service providers and energy retailers who are on the same sustainability journey they are on.”

Notably, CleanCo has signed long-term agreements with a number of large commercial and industrial customers, including Coles. The ten year agreement with Coles is underpinned by CleanCo’s offtake contracts with Western Downs Green Power Hub solar farm and the Macintyre Wind Facility.

“We are looking to grow the 3-4 percent Queensland retail market share we have today to 20 percent over the next six years, which means significantly expanding our portfolio.”

Although the target may be ambitious, Mr Metcalfe believes the company has what it takes.

“Currently we’ve got around 1GW of foundational firming assets including Swanbank E combined-cycle gas power station, Wivenhoe pumped storage hydro power station and our run-of-river hydro assets at Barron Gorge and Kareeya – and a commensurate volume in current offtake contracts,” he said.

To further grow CleanCo’s portfolio, Mr Metcalfe has a pipeline of renewable energy projects in Central Queensland.

“We are partnering with Central Queensland Power to develop these, starting with the 372MW Moah Creek Wind farm,” he said.

Late last year, CleanCo also approached the market through an open EOI, seeking a further 3GW of renewables to meet its 5GW target.

“Through the EOI we invited developers to make proposals to us for new wind, solar and collocated storage. We have not limited our investment options – we opened the door wide and are willing to accommodate various structures for the right projects.”

Already, the market EOI has seen significant success.

“Let’s just say we were heavily oversubscribed – there are a lot of projects looking for credible partners and I think it is safe to say the market recognises it is good to be working with a government-owned organisation.”

In growing its business, CleanCo recognises its responsibility to support long-term prosperity for Queenslanders.

The organisation is committed to strengthening local supply chains, establishing a pipeline of jobs in the regions and supporting local economies.

This includes sharing the benefits of the energy transformation with local communities, land owners and First Nations peoples where projects are located.

“We are in this for the long-term and we can’t do it without the support of local communities.

“We consider positive, proactive engagement with host communities to be equally as important as delivering the renewable energy and infrastructure needed to support a net zero future for the state,” Mr Metcalfe said.

Further insight

Reflecting on the market signals, challenges and opportunities that are shaping CleanCo’s daily work, Tom Metcalfe will present at the upcoming Queensland Energy Conference, hosted by Informa Connect.

Joining him on the stage are Emma Roberts, Executive General Manager, CS Energy; Paul Martyn Director General, Department Of Energy & Public Works; and Craig Francis, CEO, Genex Power.

This year’s event will be held 19-20 February at the Hilton Brisbane.

Learn more and register your place here.

About Tom Metcalfe

Mr Metcalfe has more than 30 years’ experience in the global energy sector. As President of both We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service in the United States, Mr Metcalfe oversaw the delivery of gas and electricity to approximately 3 million customers.

In his prior role as Executive Vice President at We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service he had responsibility for almost 8000MW of generation.

Mr Metcalfe’s wide-ranging experience includes renewable and non-renewable generation where he has had responsibility for development, construction, operations and maintenance. He also led essential support organisations, including engineering, planning, training, safety and environmental sustainability.

Mr Metcalfe has successfully delivered more than 5000MW of new generation in the United Kingdom, Asia, Australia and the United States. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree with honors from De Montfort University.

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