17 February, 2023 · 3 MIN READ

Millions of dollars in business opportunities ready to flow from pumped hydro

Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro project set to deliver millions of dollars into the Mackay region in 2023.

The Palaszczuk Government’s Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro project is set to pump millions of dollars into the Mackay region in 2023, delivering on the promise in the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan to deliver local supplier and employment opportunities. 

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said she was delighted to see the positive economic impact starting to flow for the project, which she labelled a “long term game changer” for the Mackay region. 

“Starting this week and continuing over the next six months, Queensland Hydro is releasing a series of procurement packages directly to local firms identified through market engagement activities,” said Ms Gilbert.  

“The packages are collectively worth millions of dollars and these include multiple packages of works across geotechnical and environmental works."

The first tender packages released to market will include environmental approvals for geotechnical investigations an engineering geologist, excavation contractor for test pits, shallow borehole drilling contractor, groundwater monitoring of geotechnical boreholes and geotechnical laboratory testing. 

“Market engagement activities, which Queensland Hydro concluded recently, identified a number of local businesses in the Mackay region which were capable of delivering some of the required services. 

“With the Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro project set to be the largest infrastructure project in Queensland’s history, it’s exciting to see that the economic benefits to local business are starting to kick off with the release of these works. 

“The Palaszczuk Government is delivering the Pioneer-Burdekin pumped hydro energy storage project which will create thousands of new local jobs and provides a future for our kids.” 

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement Mick de Brenni said the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan has pumped hydro at the centre of Queensland’s transformation to a clean, affordable and reliable energy system. 

Our plan is all about a future of cheaper, cleaner and secure energy for Queenslanders, powering good jobs in new regional industries, enabled by 70 per cent renewable energy by 2032 and 80 per cent by 2035, Mr de Brenni said.  

“It’s pumped hydro projects that will underpin our reliable power, storing cheap renewable energy and pumping out power when we need it,” he said. 

Queensland Hydro CEO (Interim) Chris Evans said the project was progressing to the detailed feasibility stages of investigation of the project and the organisation was now very keen to receive proposals from invited local businesses to further these investigations. 

“We’ve engaged with the local business community in the Mackay region since the day the Pioneer-Burdekin project was announced by the Premier and we have seen and heard first-hand the enthusiasm and excitement for the project by local business during business forums and meetings that we’ve held,” said Mr Evans. 

“Wherever it’s practical, we’re keen to engage local business in the Mackay region who can help provide their skills, expertise and knowledge as we embark upon this next critical investigation stage for the Pioneer-Burdekin project.” 

Just four months after the Palaszczuk Government revealed details of its Pioneer-Burdekin project, publicly-owned Queensland Hydro is also considering Expressions of Interest for engineering design works for the front end engineering design of the pumped hydro station, with a decision due in the next two to three months.   

Mr Evans said it was a major piece of work on what would be the world’s largest pumped hydro energy storage scheme, which was expected to draw attention both nationally and globally from suitably experienced engineering firms.