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Fast-track Queensland to become a clean energy superpower

With 100 days before Queenslanders head to the polls for the state election, the Clean Energy Council says the Sunshine State has the opportunity to exploit its natural advantages to bring down the cost of electricity for households and businesses.

The Clean Energy Council has today released its policy directives for the upcoming Queensland state election.

“Queensland, as Australia’s highest emitter of greenhouse gases, has a lot of work to do. By exploiting the state’s world-class solar resources and its wind resources, the renewable energy industry can grow while producing Australia’s cheapest electricity,” said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton.

“It’s imperative that Queensland commit to ruling out funding for new coal-fired power stations. Not only does this send a strong message that Australia’s youngest fleet of coal-fired power stations does not need to be added to by the Federal Government, it also sends a message to investors that Queensland is open for business when it comes to more renewables.”

Just 14 per cent of Queensland’s energy generation comes from renewables – the lowest in Australia.

Since 2017, when the Palaszczuk Government set a target of 50 per cent renewable energy, over $3.2 billion has been invested in new large-scale clean energy projects in regional and rural Queensland communities, with approximately 4000 large-scale construction jobs created at peak. Around a further 4000 people are employed in rooftop solar installation and the supporting supply chain, including equipment supplies, logistics, sales, marketing and administration.

Around 5500 MW of large-scale renewable energy generation is needed between now and 2030 for Queensland to meet its target of 50 per cent renewable energy, which could attract almost $10 billion of private investment and create more than 10,000 jobs. Investors stand at the ready, with around 17,000 MW of new large-scale renewable energy projects having already secured planning approvals.

“The Queensland Government should establish a taskforce comprising renewable energy businesses, government, unions and training and research bodies to understand and map out the workforce needs and gaps now and in the future and establish clear strategies to address them,” said Thornton.

Four of the top five solar postcodes in Australia are located in the sunshine state with Bundaberg the nation’s undisputed champion of solar with 13,942 installations providing 57,083 kW of clean energy capacity in 2019. However, stand-alone power systems, microgrids and other community-scale energy assets can improve safety and reliability while reducing energy costs for rural and regional Queenslanders.

“By supporting communities in the move to microgrids, there will be savings and lower electricity prices for all customers – not just those supplied by microgrids. In areas affected by natural disasters, stand-alone power can also help to reduce risks and improve safety which is vital when Queensland is the most natural disaster-prone state in the country,” said Thornton.