​Billion dollar boom: Queensland’s bright renewables future

THE SUNSHINE STATE is a leader in Australia’s renewables boom, with more than $1.6 billion dollars invested in new large-scale projects, creating more than 1,300 construction jobs in the energy sector, according to a new milestone report from the Climate Council.

The Renewables Powering Queensland’s Futurereport highlights the significant potential for the state’s clean energy future, with at least 14 clean energy projects, the highest number in Australia, under construction this year alone.

Climate Councillor and energy expert, Greg Bourne said as one of the sunniest places in the world, the opportunity for Queensland to transition from ageing and polluting fossil fuel energy to a modern, renewable 21st century power system was significant.

“Queensland and renewables are a winning combination. Queensland is already one of the nation’s leaders in the uptake of household solar, with almost 32 per cent of households installing solar in their rooftops - it isn’t called the Sunshine State for nothing!” he said.

“Meanwhile, Queensland’s economy is set to reap major benefits from the renewables boom, with the state home to the greatest number of large-scale renewable projects under construction in Australia.”

Key Findings Include:

  • Queensland, the aptly named “Sunshine State” is a leader in household solar, 31.6% of households in the state now have solar rooftops.
  • There are 14 postcodes in Queensland where more than 50% of households have rooftop solar. Elimbah leads the state with 63% of households with rooftop solar.
  • The state has the greatest number of large-scale renewable energy projects under construction in Australia, representing a quarter of capacity under construction, $1.6 billion in investment and over 1,300 new renewable energy construction jobs.
  • Queensland wind and solar projects have set some of the lowest prices for new power generation of any fuel source in Australia. For example, the Coopers Gap wind farm in Queensland has set a record low price of under $60/MWh.
  • Queensland leads in integrating large-scale solar with energy storage technology. There are several projects underway in North Queensland combining solar and energy storage, including Lakeland (solar and battery storage), Kennedy Energy Park (solar, wind and battery storage) and Kidston (solar and pumped hydro).
  • Over 5,000MW of additional renewable energy capacity is currently in the development pipeline in Queensland. More than the equivalent of 3 coal-fired generators.

The report highlights Queensland’s heavy reliance on fossil fuel energy generation from last century, showing that coal provides 73 per cent of electricity supply for the state, along with 18 per cent gas.

Bourne pointed to the importance of the global economic transition, with new Queensland renewable projects being significantly cheaper than new coal.

“A new wind farm in Queensland is half the cost of a new coal plant, new large scale solar is less than ⅔ of the cost. It is a no brainer, renewable power is cheaper, modern power and it’s better for the environment too. The serious impact of climate change has already been experienced firsthand here in Queensland, with the back-to-back mass coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.”

“Business and government in Queensland has a critical opportunity to ensure the sunshine state continues the transition to clean,affordable power in building a modern gri relying on renewable energy and storage technology.”

For more information please contact Climate Council Media Advisor Alexia Boland on 0430 511 068.

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The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

For further information, go to: climatecouncil.org.au

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