- $594 million over the next year committed in budget to start construction of CopperString 2032
- The first contract for the project has been awarded for early works
- Critical energy minerals company Vecco Group officially opened their $26 million Townsville vanadium battery electrolyte manufacturing facility
- Energy Queensland will trial vanadium battery technology that works better over longer periods and at scale, to help the state meet its renewable energy commitments
The Queensland budget will supercharge CopperString 2032 through a $1 billion downpayment from coal royalties, $594 million of which is committed to start construction over the coming financial year.
A $20 million early works package for engineering and geotechnical work has been awarded to CIMIC Group companies UGL and CPB Contractors, bringing Queensland’s next mining boom in critical minerals one step closer
The announcement was made at the official opening of Vecco Group’s $26 million Townsville Vanadium Battery Manufacturing Facility, which received support through the Queensland Jobs Fund.
The new facility will produce the electrolyte needed to manufacture vanadium batteries, an emerging battery technology that will be critical to support the world’s transition to renewable energy.
Vanadium batteries in comparison with lithium-ion batteries last longer at up to 20 years, have lower rates of degradation and are almost 100 per cent recyclable.
This commitment paves the way for Queensland to use vanadium batteries in the Queensland SuperGrid, with Energy Queensland inking a deal with Vecco and Sumitomo Electric to trial a vanadium battery in South-East Queensland.
Energy Queensland and Vecco Group will also work together to assess the benefits and technical considerations for connecting more vanadium batteries to the electricity network.
Quotes attributable to the Premier:
“I want to see vanadium mined in Queensland, processed in Queensland, and made into vanadium batteries here in Queensland.
“This is just the beginning of the manufacturing and mining jobs boom that our investment in CopperString 2032 delivers for North Queensland.
“Queensland has unique deposits of many of the minerals needed for the global energy transformation, along with the best mining and manufacturing workforce.”
Townsville MP and Minister for Resources Scott Stewart:
“There is enormous potential for vanadium mining and production in North Queensland as demand for vanadium batteries continues to rise, and we create a whole supply chain across North Queensland.
“Our government is proudly backing more full-time secure Queensland manufacturing jobs like these, and it’s Copperstring 2032 that will unlock the full power of the north.
“If we don’t manufacture our future, someone else will.
“About 800 jobs will be supported through project construction, and when completed the new transmission line significantly increases opportunities to connect high quality renewable resources to our region’s industries.
“With Joint Venture partners UGL and CPB Contractors now on-board, we will be fast-tracking work on the 500kV transmission line from Townsville to Hughenden as well as associated works to progress the project towards construction commencing in 2024.”
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni:
“Maximising local manufacturing and supply chains is an important feature of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan with around 36,000 local jobs forecast to be created in industries supporting the development of the Queensland SuperGrid.
“Copperstring 2032 will be connected to the Queensland SuperGrid, the nation’s largest energy grid, meaning that wherever energy is generated–we can capture it, send it, store it, and use it wherever it is needed.
“As CopperString 2032 progresses we’re also set to see a number of high quality renewables resources become available in the Hughenden region – a region that has the potential to become Australia’s largest Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).
“The Palaszczuk Government is also committed to maximising local supply chain opportunities by leveraging our Buy Queensland procurement policy to bring component manufacturing for the Queensland SuperGrid, to regional Queensland.”
Quotes attributable to Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper
“It’s great to see Copperstring powering ahead with this important announcement.
“The project will support good jobs not only in construction but through the development of critical minerals projects as well as renewable energy sites.”
Quotes attributable to Mundingburra MP Les Walker
“Copperstring 2032 is a transformational project for Townsville and North Queensland.
“It will open up so many opportunities for new good jobs in energy, mining and construction now and into the future.”
Quotes attributable to Vecco Group Managing Director, Tom Northcott
“Vecco Group’s high-quality vanadium resource in North West Queensland provides an opportunity to build a Queensland vanadium mining and battery manufacturing industry.
Vanadium flow batteries will play a significant role in the Queensland SuperGrid and we expect to see deployments of this proven technology accelerate as the local supply chain expands.
“The Queensland Government has shown great foresight in its commitment to supporting the vanadium industry and it is fantastic to see this supply chain plan being implemented through the government-owned corporations such as EQL.”
Quotes attributable to CIMIC Group Executive Chairman Juan Santamaria
“UGL and CPB Contractors, both part of CIMIC Group, are pleased to further strengthen our involvement with CopperString 2032 and to support the Queensland Government to deliver the important infrastructure that will form the Queensland SuperGrid electricity system, and the economic and employment benefits it will bring to communities.
“We have a track record of high voltage power projects in some of Australia’s remote regions, having installed more than 6,500km of transmission lines across the country and is currently delivering, with Powerlink, the 275kV electricity transmission line and associated switching station to connect Genex's renewable energy generation project at Kidston.
Copperstring 2032 explainer:
The Palaszczuk Government is investing $5 billion in Copperstring 2032, a 1,100-kilometre transmission line from Townsville to Mount Isa that will connect Queensland’s North West Minerals Province to the national electricity grid.
The project includes an increased transmission capacity of 500kV (from 330kV) for the section of line between Townsville and Hughenden to unlock the renewable energy potential of the region.
It will connect vast renewable wind and solar resources with critical minerals mining and processing that can be used to make batteries and renewables.
Early works have started with construction to start in 2024, with project completion by 2029.
More information - www.powerlink.com.au/copperstring2032
Vanadium battery explainer:
VRB systems, like any flow battery, use tanks to store an electrolyte – in this case vanadium which stores the energy and is circulated through a cell stack to recharge or produce electricity.
This unique architecture of a flow battery enables the energy storage capacity of the battery be expanded by adding additional tanks and vanadium liquid.
Vanadium batteries potentially provide a number of advantages over lithium-ion batteries, VRB systems offering a longer life with very high charging and discharging cycles possible– some sites have recorded 20,000 cycles, compared to 5,000 to 10,000 cycles for lithium-ion systems.
VRB systems can also fully discharge, and charge, without damaging the battery and have negligible capacity degradation over time. They last up to 20 years with the key technology component, vanadium, being 100% reusable.