Queensland's Mines and Natural Resources Minister Dr Antony Lynham says North West Queensland has a big decision when it comes to sourcing its energy.
Dr Lynham told the North West Star the region needed to think whether it was better to go with gas and renewables than link to the east coast grid as the CopperString 2.0 project proposes.
Dr Lynham said CopperString2.0 was more promising than previous proposals to join the grid but was cautious in support.
"We are waiting for the feasibility study and we'll see how that goes," Dr Lynham said.
Dr Lynham said the North West already had gas via the Diamantina Power Station and the gas pipeline from the Northern Territory.
"The thing about the pipeline is the easement it is on, all native title has been addressed so if they want to increase the capacity it is now rather easy to do so," he said.
Dr Lynham said what was missing was solar. "With gas and renewables you've got the magic," he said.
"If you added large-scale solar throughout the north west you could have the situation where you'd have much cheaper power than the rest of Australia if someone was to grasp the bull by the horns and say this is what we want.
"The other option is to join to the national energy market but you are at the behest of the national energy pricing, you've lost control of your own price."
Dr Lynham said he was not entering that debate and it could be done either way but done right, gas and solar would be cheaper.
"Copper String can be cheaper than the Diamantina Power Station at $120 a MW hour but you could hook renewables in and solar for $50 a MW hour," he said.
"There's a big choice to be made which way do people want to go. Do you want to control your energy, grasp the gas that is going to come flying through from the NT, plus the unexploited Mount Isa Superbasin next door plus renewables and have cheaper power than anywhere in Australia if it is done right or do you want to hook up to CopperString and always be at the behest of the national energy price?"
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