Queensland energy minister Anthony Lynham says he is watching with interest on the NSW push into renewable energy zones, saying it is clear that clean energy investors like the process.
In an online forum hosted by the Clean Energy Council, Lynham said it was clear that renewable energy was delivering lower prices in Queensland, and the state Labor government was committed to its 50 per cent renewables target by 2030 (it should reach 20 per cent this year), and developing a renewable hydrogen industry.
“Renewable energy is a revolution,” Lynham said. “It is providing jobs and investment opportunities. It is lowering the power prices for Queensland families.
“We have got the lowest power prices on the eastern seaboard, and that’s because of renewables,” Lynham said,.
He noted that in Queensland, one in three households have solar on their roofs. “In the middle of the day our power cost is virtually zero,” meaning that the government owned CleanCo could use the 570MW Wivenhoe pumped hydro facility outside Brisbane to fill its dam, and then let the water flow down and generate power at the peak times when the network needs it.
“Reliability – we’ve got it. Lowest prices – we’ve got it. It’s all because of renewable energy.”
But he warned that if the LNP won the state election this year – due in October – then the renewable energy journey would come to an end.
“There’s only party for renewable energy. It’s either on or off. It’ imperative that the people of Queensland are with us on this journey. We give them renewable energy, we give them the lowest prices, and we give them reliability.” The LNP, he said, were interested only in building a new coal plant near Collisnville.
Lynham recognised that the renewable energy zone proposed for NSW around Dubbo had attracted an enormous amount of interest, and the state government was watching closely. NSW is looking to fund the REZ by auctioning off capacity to wind and solar projects. The idea draw interest from 27GW of wind, solar and storage projects, nearly 10 times the capacity sought.
Queensland is pushing its own Copperstring link between Townsville and Mt Isa to release a series of large scale solar and wind projects, and provide power to many proposed mining projects.
“We are watching NSW with interest. Watch this space when it comes to renewable energy zones. There is no doubt the industry has shown that they like them.”
Lynham noted that the state’s first big battery at Wandoan would also start construction this month.