Queenslanders want renewables to become the ‘norm’

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Queenslanders say they want renewable energy to become the norm. The Newman government responds by suggesting they subscribe to think tanks.

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Queenslanders have given renewable energy an overwhelming vote of support, telling the state government as part of its 30-year “Queensland Plan” that they want renewables to become the “norm” in the state.

qldwindThe document, produced after consultations with 80,000 Queenslanders, states that their goal is for renewable and alternative energy to become the norm.

That would mean that “alternative, renewable energy is a Queensland commodity. It is affordable, commercially viable and available to all Queenslanders. Our infrastructure supports these renewable energy solutions.”

The document also states: “Increasingly, Queenslanders are turning to renewable energy alternatives. In the coming decades, as new technologies emerge, cleaner alternative energy sources may help us become better and wiser at using natural resources so they are protected and last longer.”

Premier Campbell Newman hailed the plan as “a massive and exemplary exercise in listening and consulting which involved various discussion forums from summits and community think tanks to boardroom workshops and robust family debates.”

But Queenslanders shouldn’t get too excited about Newman’s LNP government making a sudden lunge towards clean energy.

Queensland may well have more rooftop solar PV than any other state – 1.1GW out of a country total of 3.4GW – but it has very few large scale renewable energy projects, and little prospect of more in the near term. Network operators have also introduced new rules that may prevent new solar installations from exporting their output back into the grid.

The Newman Government has constantly derided “green schemes”, such as the solar feed-in tariff, for contributing towards higher power prices, even though it has benefited from a huge increase in dividends from the state owned network operators derived from big increases in network costs.

The government also wants the renewable energy target brought to a halt, rather than expanded. This appears designed to accommodate the needs of the state-owned fossil fuel generators, Stanwell Corp and CS Energy, which have called for renewable support schemes to end.

Stanwell Corp, in particular, has been critical of the role that rooftop solar has played in lowering wholesale electricity prices and forcing its books into the red.

The Queensland Energy Minister, Mick McArdle, said in his submission to the RET Review panel, that efforts to reduce emissions should be delayed until the state is rich enough.

So, how will the Newman government respond to the desire of its constituents expressed in the Queensland Plan?

The document includes some suggestions about how Queenslanders can “turn their ideas into action” and “make our vision a reality”.

Specifically, the document recommends:

“Subscribe to local and international think tanks and keep up to date about alternative energy solutions and environmental issues.”

Well, that’s a start. We trust, however, that the Newman government is not suggesting the Institute of Public Affairs. We’d recommend The Australian Institute, or the Centre for Policy Development. And RenewEconomy.

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13 Comments
  1. Jennifer Gow 5 years ago

    How about a 1 gigawatt solar thermal power station WITH HEAT STORAGE to provide 24/7 dispatchable power just for starters. I would suggest in the vicinity of Collinsville or Kogan Creek for plenty of solar energy and easy access to the existing grid.

    • David Rossiter 5 years ago

      Sounds like a great way to integrate, future proof and transition the existing power systems into a more appropriate growth path.

  2. Rob G 5 years ago

    Either way the states will need to become more renewable positive, as frustration is building against the federal government and if states follow in their foot steps they a more likely to be punished sooner in their coming elections. We know State Labor is waiting in the wings to activate carbon cutting plans. I think the states are mindful of the dangerous path the federal government is on and want to distance themselves it. Just look at all the states coming out claiming they want renewables to be big etc, so now we need see some action.

  3. Zvyozdochka 5 years ago

    Stanwell and CS Energy should be sold to (US?) suckers before they are worthless.

    The grid should be kept in the public’s hands.

    • Richard Hayes 5 years ago

      The Grid is likely to worthless in 5-10 years.

  4. RobS 5 years ago

    I’m going to watch this one with quiet optimism. The recent by election thrashing has been the first time we have seen genuine evidence of introspection and regret from Campbell Newman, genuine evidence that he gets that his political decisions have been flawed. The message on energy from this consultation is abundantly clear and he is now looking for ways to get some confidence back from the electorate. We may well see moves to ban the no feed in rules and force gentailers to properly reimburse excess solar production and we may see favorable treatment of potential large scale renewable projects which had been mothballed. We may see none of those things but Campbell can smell blood, and hes just realised it’s his own.

  5. WR 5 years ago

    I have no idea whether or not the QLD government-owned generators have any plans to build renewable generation at the utility end of things, but the planned changes to retail prices are going to punish energy efficiency and rooftop generation. The rates are changing from 55 c/day connection fee and 26 c/KWh usage rate for the 2013/14 financial year to 116 c/day connection fee and 25c/kWh for 2015/16 on the basic Tariff 11 plan. The Queensland Competition Authority’s ruling on electricity prices is here: http://www.qca.org.au/getattachment/25696fbc-b4ed-42c4-8d16-fd3efddb563e/Final-Determination.aspx

    The QCA’s reasoning for this is that increasing the connection fee is a “fairer” way of paying off the debt that the networks have incurred in spending for the 16% increase in peak demand that they anticipated would occur over the 2010-2015 period. Instead, peak demand has fallen by about 5% since 2010. So I guess the network’s capacity must be more than 20% above what is required currently. But I guess they still have to pay off their debts and return a dividend to the government.
    Submissions for network costs to the AER for the next 5 years are coming up soon. It will be interesting to see if Energex and Ergon are looking for further network expansions.

  6. Chris Fraser 5 years ago

    whoa … the little BS Detector next to me has gone bright red and rang out until it fell over. It’s saying “let’s feed the chooks a little and see if we can’t improve our polling”.Does this mean that the Queensland Coal Plan will have to be thrown out in its entirety ?

  7. Wombat 5 years ago

    If new rules prevent households from exporting their spare daytime generation back to the grid – well, there’s another reason to invest in on-site storage. Every household forced into storage is one less consumer for the generation companies, one less household contributing to their fixed costs.

  8. [email protected] 5 years ago

    Another load of bullshit and propaganda there are 4.6 million people that live in Queensland I wonder where they done their research at a greens convention I should not wonder 80,000 is a long way short of most Queenslanders

  9. Masoud 5 years ago

    The problem with Solar panels and Inverters is that they solves half the problem. The problem is completely solved with Energy Storage. The sooner the utilities accept this fact the sooner we can realise the dream of renewable energy.

    Go to: http://www.magellan-power.com.au/component/virtuemart/renewable-energy2012-06-06-07-05-521 and see what Aussie company about it.

  10. Diego Matter 5 years ago

    Giles, joining solarcitizens.org.au is also a good way to support renewables. Taking it to people in the streets.

  11. Diego Matter 5 years ago

    Giles, joining solarcitizens.org.au is also a good way to support renewables. Taking it to people in the streets.

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