Lansdown attracts leading renewable energy infrastructure investor

Date published: 31 October 2023

A leading global renewable energy infrastructure investor has been allocated a major parcel of land at the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct.

Townsville City Council is developing the Lansdown precinct, transforming it into an environmentally sustainable, advanced manufacturing, processing, and technology hub.

Australian owned Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners (Quinbrook) has been conditionally allocated a 200-hectare portion of the total 2200-hectare Lansdown site through a Council-run competitive tender process.

Quinbrook proposes to develop and build a state-of-the-art polysilicon manufacturing facility at Lansdown, powered by a large-scale solar and battery storage project it plans to build on land adjacent to Lansdown.

Benefiting from Townsville’s access to abundant solar energy and critical minerals resources, the multi-billion-dollar project would source high quality silica quartz from the North Queensland region, creating more than 1000 jobs in construction and operation.

Polysilicon is a basic building block for both solar panels and computer chips and Quinbrook believes the project has the potential to rank amongst the greenest polysilicon plants in the world given its access to low-cost renewable power at Lansdown.

The conditions of land allocation include a strict timeline to develop the project as well as contributing to critical Lansdown infrastructure.

Quinbrook is also partnering with Solquartz, who has already been conditionally allocated 64 ha at Lansdown to develop a metallurgical silicon metal processing plant. The partnership is intended to enable Solquartz to accelerate and integrate its project into Quinbrook’s larger polysilicon manufacturing facility.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said Quinbrook was a proven international investor in the global green energy arena, having been recently awarded Energy Investor of the Year for North America and Sponsor of the Year in 2022.

“Quinbrook had developed and is actively constructing several of the largest solar and battery storage projects ever undertaken in the US and the UK representing billions of new infrastructure investment,” Cr Hill said.

“This is an especially exciting announcement because Quinbrook are not only the developers and sponsors, but also the project funders, which means the money is on the table.

“Once the right operating partner is chosen by the company, the project can move forward at a rapid pace, subject to the normal government approvals.

“Townsville is becoming well known internationally for its potential in refining and building critical components for the green energy transition.

“This means thousands of long-term sustainable manufacturing jobs for Townsville as well as jobs in local supply chains supporting green refining at Lansdown.”

Quinbrook’s Senior Director Brian Restall said the company had targeted Lansdown because of its clear competitive advantages as a site for large scale manufacturing powered by renewables, logistics, site infrastructure and port access for export.

“Lansdown is close to the source of some of the best silica quartz resources in the world and it has the land and site infrastructure we need to build a truly state of the art manufacturing facility that will be powered by renewable energy,” Mr Restall said.

“Close proximity to the port and multiple transport corridors make it a very compelling location for energy intensive, export driven ‘green’ manufacturing.

“We have strong relationships with and are a major customer of leading solar and battery manufacturers across the globe – meaning components manufactured here in Townsville will be exported to these leading manufacturers and made into finished solar modules and batteries.

“Our aim is that Quinbrook will ultimately purchase that equipment for our global power generation projects with total confidence in the supply chain that produced them. This is a ‘win win’ outcome.

“We’re looking forward to working with Townsville locals to manufacture green polysilicon right here in Queensland and make this a leading example of Australia’s green superpower potential.”

The Lansdown Eco Industrial Precinct was declared by Deputy Premier Steven Miles as a project of state significance in March this year.

Companies such as Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub project and Edify Energy’s green hydrogen production facility are already well advanced in planning for construction at Lansdown over coming years.

The Quinbrook project aims to support the development of a fully integrated Australian solar manufacturing capability and help achieve the objectives of both the Queensland and Australian Government’s renewable energy and critical minerals strategies.