Turbocharging Queensland’s large-scale renewable energy industry creates 9,300 construction jobs every year for the ten years and almost 6,000 ongoing jobs, according to a new report by Solar Citizens.
The report, titled Queensland’s Renewable Recovery Plan, analysed how many jobs would be created if key Renewable Energy Zones were developed across Queensland. It found that developing the two major zones in North Queensland alone, including Townsville and the surrounding area, creates over 4,100 construction jobs every year until 2030 and 2,500 ongoing jobs.
Renewable Energy Zones are designated areas across the National Electricity Market that have the greatest renewable energy potential and are prime locations for transmission investment.
The NSW Government recently announced an area west of Dubbo as a Renewable Energy Zone in June, and was overrun with investor interest – with proposed projects worth a total of $38 billion.
“At the moment the need for new transmission infrastructure is one of the main hurdles stopping investment in new solar and wind projects in Queensland, but with the right infrastructure the Sunshine State could have a thriving and job-rich clean energy industry,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director.
“Queenslanders could be the main beneficiaries as Australia transitions to renewable energy because we’ve got incredible solar and wind resources and clean energy expertise.
“Regional Queenslanders, in particular, will be the winners with 75% of the jobs created from a thriving renewable energy industry being in the regions.”
The report highlights that there are already more jobs across Australia in renewable energy, compared with domestic coal generation and mining. Solar Citizens recommends that the Queensland Government’s economic recovery measures should prioritise energy infrastructure and public investment in new solar, wind and storage projects to fast-track renewable jobs and the creation of new manufacturing industries.
“One of Queensland’s main competitive advantages should be cheap energy because we have some of the world’s best solar and wind resources,” said Ms Roberts.
“Building the right infrastructure and tapping into these resources could attract new industries and see ‘green’ steel and storage batteries being manufactured here in Queensland.”
The report also found that if the Queensland Government rolled out 50,000 storage batteries across Queensland’s 700,000 solar homes and businesses, it would create 280 installation jobs every year for five years, as well as 73 ongoing jobs in operations and maintenance.
“Incentivising the uptake of household battery storage could fire up local battery storage manufacturing, like we’ve seen in South Australia where there are now three battery facilities in operation,” said Ms Roberts.
“Already in Townsville there’s a proposal to open a huge battery facility that could employ up to 1,150 locals. We want to see more of this.”
“Using this moment to invest in renewable energy initiatives won’t just create thousands of construction jobs, it will pave the way for clean energy to be one of the main drivers of our future economy.”