Queensland’s renewable energy future is taking shape under the Palaszczuk Labor Government. We’ve made it a priority to unlock our potential and establish Queensland as a renewable energy leader by kick-starting a large-scale renewable energy industry for the first time in Queensland - to act on climate change, create jobs of the future and continue to boost investment.
Queensland is already one of the world’s highest per capita users of domestic solar with more than 450,000 residential solar rooftops, or 29 per cent of all homes. We’re almost half way to our target of one million solar rooftops by 2020. Combined, that makes solar rooftops our state’s second largest power station.
Labor’s Solar 60 program will create 60 megawatts (MW) of renewable power, exceeding our 2015 election commitment of 40MW by 50 per cent. The shortlist is full of projects that are going to create jobs and create a large-scale renewable industry. Solar 60 is being run in partnership with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) 200MW competitive round.
Sadly, the Turnbull Government axed ARENA’s competitive grant funding after the current round. This is a cut of $1.3 billion for renewable energy expansion, meaning projects that can deliver jobs in regional Queensland simply won’t happen. The Turnbull Government (or Tony Abbott 2.0) continues to push out the same-old, prehistoric renewables policy that will damage the renewables industry we’re building.
The Palaszczuk Government is also investing in the new Energy Innovation Hub and Research Laboratory in Cairns to continue leading research into battery energy storage and the integration of solar into our networks. The next big shift is combining solar PV with batteries for home storage and we’re getting ready.
Customers will be able to charge their battery system from solar during low demand periods and use battery power at peak times to reduce impacts on the electricity network and most importantly keep pressure off electricity prices.
Not only are we doing the research, we set a renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030 because we want to see a new clean, green economy in Queensland that gives consumers more options.
The Palaszczuk Labor Government is building our renewable energy future. This task was made harder given over the three years of the Newman Government 1,300 renewable energy industry jobs were lost and not a single large scale renewable energy project was started.
We’ve come a long way since then, but we’ve got a long way to go in making Queensland the cleaner, greener, solar state.
By Mark Bailey, Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply