A territory A worker installs solar panels at a major generating plant.
A territory A worker installs solar panels at a major generating plant.

State fires back on renewable power targets

QUEENSLAND is “well on its way” to achieving a 50 per cent renewables target for its electricity generation industry by 2030 and would achieve 20 per cent this year,” Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said yesterday.

He blamed distribution issues “across the national electricity grid” for claimed slow progress on project approvals and the consequent loss of potential jobs and investment.

He was responding to solar power advocate group Solar Citizens, which this week blamed “mountains of hurdles” for delaying the emerging renewable electricity industry and creation of a potential 6100 jobs in Wide Bay Burnett.

“Energy policy uncertainty, transmission issues and grid restraints are killing renewable investment in Queensland and therefore killing the potential for new renewable jobs,” Solar Citizens national director Ellen Roberts said.

Green Energy Markets spokesman Tristan Edis said renewable energy investment in Queensland had crashed and other states had taken the initiative by upgrading transmission lines and underwriting new projects with long term contracts.

“Queensland has great potential to become a renewable energy superpower, but waiting on the federal government to act isn’t going to see the potential realised,” he said.

Wide Bay federal MP Llew O’Brien said electricity and distribution infrastructure was a state responsibility.

“If other states are moving, why isn’t Queensland?” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr Lynham said renewable energy projects had created 5700 Queensland jobs, mostly in the regions.

“This has been in the face of national energy policy turmoil under successive LNP Governments,” he said.

“Our renewable energy generation business, CleanCo, has a remit to bring on 1000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2025.

“This is already underway with CleanCo building a new wind farm near Warwick as part of a precinct that will create 400 jobs and supply up to nearly 700,000 homes.

“CleanCo is also buying 320MW of energy from what will become Australia’s biggest solar farm near Chinchilla,” he said.

“The transition to renewable energy is bringing well-recognised challenges across the national electricity grid - challenges which Queensland has already taken up.

“Our publicly-owned transmission business, Powerlink Queensland is already seeking solutions in a nationally funded project to address these system strength challenges,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said he was keen to support “energy generation projects that provide affordable and reliable electricity, that are capable of powering homes and businesses, manufacturing and heavy industry.

“If these projects stack up economically and environmentally, it they don’t harm primary production, if they have community support and if they don’t send Australian taxpayer funds to foreign investors, distorting the market and shifting production costs onto taxpayers, then the Queensland Government should let them proceed today,” he said.

Gympie Times

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