The Queensland Government’s leadership on renewable energy will allow the state to take full advantage of its world-class sunshine and natural resources, the Clean Energy Council said today following the release of a draft expert panel report into the state’s 50% renewable energy target.

Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton said it was great to see a long-term strategic plan put forward that could drive the greater uptake of renewable energy in Queensland.

“While ambitious national energy and climate policy would be an ideal outcome, states and territories such as Queensland are helping to both fill the policy vacuum and transition the country to a cleaner, modern energy system,” Thornton said.

“Renewable energy like wind and solar power has fallen massively in cost, to the point where it is now the cheapest kind of new electricity generation that can be built today.”

A panel commissioned by the Palaszczuk government found more than $6 billion in new wind and solar projects will be required to meet the 50% target of renewable energy by 2030.

The panel is confident the extra 14,000MW of capacity would result in no net increase in power prices and anticipates no coal-fired power stations will have to close.

About 400MW will be added before 2020, mostly on the back of the federal government’s large-scale renewable energy scheme, and a Queensland scheme will deliver the remaining 4,000MW to 5,500MW of projects required by 2030.

By 2030 it’s expected about 7,000MW of large-scale solar and 2,000MW of large-scale wind will be added to the network.

Government will secure funds with private investors by guaranteeing a wholesale electricity price. If the price falls, consumers will pay the difference.

“The world is speeding towards a low-carbon economy, and most of our coal-fired power stations are now at or beyond the age at which we would expect them to be shut down,” Thornton said.

“The Queensland Government has made clear that renewable energy is the future. Queensland has a proud mining tradition, and now that includes mining the sky and the wind to get the maximum benefits from its outstanding natural advantages,” he said.

Thornton said the renewable energy industry would welcome better harmonisation of renewable energy policy throughout the country, so long as the process builds upon the stronger ambition shown by state governments, introduces long-term stable policies and ensures investments made to date are not negatively affected.

The Clean Energy Council released the Power Shift blueprint this year, which contains a suite of policy initiatives to help Australia deliver a zero-emission electricity system no later than 2050.