NEW APPROACH: Queensland Premier, the Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk MP and Southern Oil's Tim Rose at the official opening of the Northern Oil Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant in Gladstone.
NEW APPROACH: Queensland Premier, the Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk MP and Southern Oil's Tim Rose at the official opening of the Northern Oil Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant in Gladstone. Paul Braven GLA010617NORTHOIL

OPINION: Gladstone could be a laboratory for energy shift

WITHOUT any shadow of a doubt, the biggest single challenge facing the new Queensland Government will be balancing the need for reliable, affordable energy with ambitious but necessary clean energy targets.

We exist in that moment in time called transition.

How long the transition lasts will depend on rates of investment, political will, consumer uptake from business, industry and domestic markets, and the pace of research and development.

But along with any challenge comes opportunity.

The future wealth will belong to those companies, industries and regions that look to the opportunities today.

Gladstone is perfectly positioned to become a living laboratory, a test tube if you like, for research and development into the transition from fossil fuel reliance to renewable sources of energy.

Already Northern Biofuels and projects planned for Aldoga show that Gladstone is advancing in that field.

But how does a facility the size of QAL or Boyne Smelter transition to renewable energy?

If we want to know, we have to find out and I can't think of anywhere better positioned to lead the way in this area.

In CQUniversity, we already have a major research facility with specialisations in both spheres.

We have a critical economic need for reliable, affordable energy for industry in particular while we move towards renewable energy development with strong support from the community, industry and government.

Research and development is an industry in itself and Gladstone is in a perfect position to capitalise on the opportunities.