North Queensland Airports Fly High with Clean Energy Partnership

North Queensland Airports Fly High with Clean Energy Partnership Main Image

01 March 2024

Cairns Airport will soon be powered by 100% renewable energy, thanks to an initiative undertaken by the Miles Government to strengthen the Far North’s reputation as the ultimate getaway for the climate conscious traveller. 

A landmark agreement between Queensland’s publicly owned energy companies CleanCo, and the North Queensland Airport Group, has seen Cairns and Mackay Airports commit to powering 100% of their land operations with renewable energy by 2025. 

This partnership heralds a significant leap forward in sustainable tourism, as Cairns and Mackay Airports will soon be powered by renewable energy generated at the local Kaban Wind Farm near Ravenshoe. 

This agreement, and other initiatives by the Miles Government to decarbonise industry and meet Queensland’s renewable energy targets safeguards the Far North’s $3.2 billion tourism industry, and the jobs that depend on it. 

As a significant employer in the region, with more than 130 people working across the Cairns and Mackay Airports as part of the North Queensland Airport Group, this agreement supports local tourism jobs and economic growth in the region. 

Additionally, it supports ongoing jobs at the Kaban Wind Farm, which employed 350 workers during peak construction. 

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Energy and Clean Economy Jobs, Mick de Brenni:
"We know that tourists come from around the world to visit the pristine sites of the Far North, and with the tourism industry the biggest employer in the Far North, initiatives that take action on climate are critical. 

“The transition to a low emissions economy is well underway, and this commitment to power Cairns and Mackay Airports with renewable energy is another step forward towards our goal of 75% emissions reduction by 2035.

“The Miles Government is working hard to protect the wildlife and world-renowned ecosystems of the Far North - and the 1 in 7 locals whose jobs rely on them, and today’s announcement shows our commitment to supporting local jobs and safeguard our natural assets.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Tourism, Michael Healy:
“We know there’s a real global desire for more sustainable, meaningful tourism experiences and this partnership with CleanCo can help propel Queensland to be a world leader and number one destination in that sector.

“It also aligns with our ambitious 10-year tourism industry strategy to more than double the state’s visitor economy to $44 billion in overnight visitor expenditure by 2032.”

Quotes attributable to CleanCo CEO, Tom Metcalfe:
“This collaboration is of great importance to CleanCo and allows Queenslanders to make a direct connection between the renewables we are investing in, the journeys they travel and the airports they visit in beautiful North Queensland.

“Thank you to North Queensland Airports for trusting CleanCo as a partner in the organisation’s sustainability journey. We are delighted to support Queensland’s valuable tourism industry through the supply of renewable energy generated right here in Queensland.”

Quotes attributable to North Queensland Airports CEO, Richard Barker:
“We see it as our responsibility to actively protect the environment around Cairns and Mackay airports, which are key economic drivers for regional Queensland. We are committed to achieving Net Zero emissions (for scope 1 and 2) by 2025, a significant target which would make us among the first carbon-neutral airports in Australasia.

“Our partnership with CleanCo means 100 per cent of our electricity, and that of tenants, will be powered by renewable energy, placing us on the trajectory to well and truly meet this goal. Investing in good environmental practice is the right thing to do, and vital for long-term business success.”

Quotes attributable to Advance Cairns Chief Executive Officer Jacinta Reddan:
“Proactive climate-positive measures, such as NQA’s partnership with CleanCo, will help to ensure the region’s long-term growth and economic prosperity.

“North Queensland is highly regarded for its spectacular natural attractions and world-class facilities.

“Protection of the surrounding environment is critical to our community, local operators and the region’s overall longevity. North Queensland Airports’ investment in renewable energy demonstrates a clear vision for the future. It is fantastic to see this commitment from one of our region’s most vital pieces of infrastructure.”