New analysis from Green Energy Markets has found that Queensland is only on track to meet 37.5 per cent renewable electricity by 2030, falling well short of the State Government’s 50 per cent goal.
“Energy policy uncertainty and the dire need for more transmission infrastructure is driving away potential investors,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director.
“The clean energy projects proposed across Queensland would create thousands of construction jobs and billions worth of investment, but Queenslanders won’t see a slice of this unless the State Government releases a plan for reaching 50 per cent renewables and beyond.”
While the Queensland Government is falling behind on their 50 per cent commitment, the State LNP Opposition has indicated that they won’t support a renewable energy target if elected in October.
“If the Queensland LNP abolishes the state’s renewable energy target, it’ll send a message to renewable investors that Queensland is closed for business,” said Ms Roberts.
“Halting renewable energy investment will stop electricity bills from dropping further and hurt regional communities that stand to gain from new large-scale projects.”
The new Green Energy Markets report highlights that a surge in renewable energy, particularly solar, has driven down the wholesale price of electricity during the daytime from $67 in 2016 to just $12 last May.
“Manufacturers in the North of Queensland are complaining about high electricity prices, caused by a reliance on expensive gas plants. To support regional manufacturing we need to urgently scale up renewable generation and transmission,” said Ms Roberts.
“Queensland’s competitive advantage should be an abundance of cheap renewable energy. More cheap renewables can revive local manufacturing and pave the way for new industries, like green steel production.”
A recent report from the Grattan Institute found if Australia gained just 6.5% of the global steel market it would create 25,000 ongoing manufacturing jobs in Queensland and NSW, and generate $65 billion in annual export revenue.
“The boom in renewable energy construction activity is turning to a bust just at the wrong time for the Queensland economy,” said Tristan Edis from Green Energy Markets.
“Over 2019 there was not a single utility-scale solar or wind farm committed to construction and those committed to construction over 2016 to 2018 are now largely complete.”
To the credit of the State Government and the Sunshine State’s 700,000 solar homes and businesses, Queensland has gone from consuming just 7 per cent renewable electricity in 2016 to a projected 23 per cent by 2021.
“In the last five years Queensland has proven the doubters wrong who said renewable energy was too expensive and too insignificant to make a difference,” said Mr Edis.