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Case study

Powerlink infrastructure futureproofs Qld REZ

Transmission infrastructure provides extra clean energy capacity and supports the MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct

The first CEFC investment to support the development of a Renewable Energy Zone has helped develop critical infrastructure at scale to connect major clean energy assets in Queensland to the National Electricity Market.


CEFC commitment


grid infrastructure

1,500 MW

new capacity

This is a real first in that it fundamentally changes the way that transmission businesses are looking at delivering this type of infrastructure. It is fantastic and we want to see more of them adopt this approach across the country.
Andrew Richards
CEO, Energy Users Association of Australia

Our investment

The CEFC committed $160 million in 2022 to Powerlink to build transmission infrastructure to unlock greater renewable generation capacity in the Southern Downs Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) in Queensland.

The CEFC commitment financed an additional 500 MW of new network hosting capacity, adding to the proposed 1000MW of renewable plant capacity to support the MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct.

The Precinct includes what is expected to be one of the largest onshore wind farms in the Southern Hemisphere, the 923 MW MacIntyre Wind Farm, and the 103MW Karara Wind Farm.  Once complete, the Precinct will be capable of producing enough power to supply 700,000 homes.

Powerlink has constructed and operates 65 kilometres of high voltage 330kV overhead transmission lines and two switching stations in the southern portion of the REZ.   

The construction of the transmission connection supported 220 jobs and engaged 11 local suppliers.

our impact

Unlocking capacity for renewables

Accelerating the development of Renewable Energy Zones is critical to supporting Australia’s net zero emissions by 2050 ambitions and is an important part of the Australian Energy Market Operator Integrated Systems Plan (ISP).

The ISP recognises that much of the new renewable energy resource for the NEM is expected to be delivered in areas with good solar and wind resources, potential for strong network connection and strong community support.

Connecting the Southern Downs REZ to the national grid is expected to boost reliability of power across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Australian grid financing first

In a first for Australian grid infrastructure financing, CEFC capital enabled Powerlink to develop the Southern Downs REZ at scale and keep connection costs down for the initial or foundation generators.  

It was also the first time that generator contributions covered the cost of building critical REZ assets.

The new financing model connects renewable generation in a way that minimises costs and risks for Queensland businesses and households.

Unique contracting arrangements help Powerlink bridge the financing gap for generators through an initial lower connection charge.

Transitioning the grid

The CEFC finance for the delivery of the Powerlink transmission infrastructure followed on from commitments to EnergyConnect and Snowy 2.0 that also support Australia’s transitioning electricity system.

The role of the CEFC in spearheading investment in grid electricity infrastructure was expanded in 2023 when the CEFC was charged with investing $19 billion on behalf of the Australian Government through the Rewiring the Nation Fund. 

Learn more about the RTN Fund

Last updated April 2024. National, Queensland, Energy grid, Renewable energy
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