Powering Queensland Plan: $771 million for solar bonus scheme

Queensland Police install solar panel arraysImage: Queensland Government

The latest State Budget sets aside $1.16 billion for Queensland renewable energy initiatives.

The 2017-18 Budget includes the Powering Queensland Plan that focuses on “an affordable, secure and sustainable energy supply”.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government is committed to reducing cost-of-living pressures for Queenslanders.

“A clean energy boom is happening in Queensland,” Bailey said. “Our $150 million investment for a strategic transmission line will support the establishment of a North Queensland Clean Energy Hub, in turn supporting around 4,600 jobs.”

Qld Budget 2017-18

The Queensland Budget 2017-17 includes a plan for a renewables operator called ‘CleanCo’. Image Queensland Government

He added that the Powering Queensland Plan will lead Queensland’s transition to a 50 per cent renewable target by 2030.

Budget plans for a renewable future

The 2017-18 Budget includes:

  • $771 million to provide relief for Queensland electricity consumers by covering the cost of the Solar Bonus Scheme;
  • $386 million for the Powering North Queensland Plan;
  • An Energy Security Taskforce which works in partnership with Queensland’s energy businesses to ensure secure, reliable and clean electricity supply across Queensland;
  • Returning Swanbank E gas-fired power station to service to increase and support reliable supply;
  • Directing Stanwell Corporation to undertake strategies to place downward pressure on wholesale prices;
  • A Queensland Gas Action Plan ensuring long-term gas supply for electricity generation; and
  • Assessing the feasibility of a separate CleanCo to operate Queensland’s existing renewable and low-emissions energy generation assets and develop new renewable energy projects.

CleanCo to operate Queensland’s renewable assets?

Mr Bailey said that under the Powering Queensland Plan the government will examine whether state-owned hydroelectric, gas, and renewable energy projects could be operated by a ‘CleanCo’ authority.

He said the Palaszczuk Government continued its commitment to subsidise regional Queenslanders’ electricity bills. An investment of $490.7 million makes sure they pay “a similar amount for their electricity to those in South East Queensland”.

“On average household bills will have increased by just 1.9 per cent per year on average under our first term,” Bailey said.

“This is in stark contrast to the 43 per cent increase inflicted by the Newman-Nicholls Government while in office.”