Queensland’s energy ministry has released a tender to explore land in the central and south-western part of the Australian state for underground storage of carbon dioxide gas.

The 13 sites identified by the government cover 66,000km² in the Blackall-Tambo, the Roma-Wandoan and the Chinchilla-Moonie areas.

Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said that sufficient land has been released to give preference to Queensland-based ventures as part of the Commonwealth’s Carbon Capture and Storage Flagship programme, reports AAP.

Australia is expected to continue relying on coal as a major source of power generation.

“With growing electricity demand and an abundant supply of low-cost, high-quality thermal coal, Queensland is well placed to pioneer low-emission coal technology,” Robertson told AAP.

“When combined with the capture and storage of carbon dioxide, low emission coal technology will be capable of achieving greenhouse gas emission cuts of more than 75%,” he said.