The ACT and SA may be leading the way in renewable energy policy, but Queensland is quickly catching up.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was overwhelmed by the private sector’s response to the state’s Solar 60 program, organised in conjunction with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to secure 60 MW of large-scale solar projects.
Ergon Energy has also sought expressions of interest for another 150 MW of large-scale solar projects, with a decision on the shortlisted projects to be made by the end of this financial year.
“We are working with proponents of 17 projects, offering an additional 1,000 MW of installed energy generation valued at $2.4 billion and offering up to 2,300 jobs during construction,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“These projects are spread across the state and from a range of technologies including solar, wind and biomass,” she added.
Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the 17 shortlisted projects meant Queensland could contribute toward the national Renewable Energy Target (RET) through local projects.
“In the past, Queensland’s Renewable Energy Target liability was mostly met on the spot market. It meant rather than support homegrown solar and wind projects, we have been propping up wind farms in southern Australia,” Mr Bailey said.
He said the construction and operation of large-scale renewable energy projects would encourage local and international investment, create jobs and help combat climate change by lowering carbon emissions.
The past few years have been eventful for Queensland’s renewables industry, with Energex launching a battery storage trial earlier this year to provide real-time data on how new technologies can be integrated into the network. Late last year, Australia’s biggest solar farm – the 130-150 MW Clare Solar Farm – got the go-ahead, while Mr Bailey used the Solar 2015 conference as a launchpad to announce his Solar Future program