Queensland renewable power surges to new heights

Renewable energy vital to Australia's climate battleAustralia's Climate Council

Investment in the Queensland renewable power sector has surged to $1.6 billion, with 14 new projects currently under construction across the state.

These projects are set to create more than 1,300 new construction jobs in the energy sector, according to a milestone report from the Climate Council.

It finds Queensland leads the nation in residential solar power, with 31.6 per cent of households owning solar panel systems.

There are 14 postcodes in the Sunshine State where over 50 per cent of households have rooftop solar. Topping the leaderboard is Elimbah, where 63 per cent of homes have solar installed.

Big renewable power projects challenge fossil fuels

Queensland renewable power : $1.6B for 1300 jobs

Renewable power sector surges in Queensland. Source: Climate Council

Queensland has the greatest number of large-scale renewable power projects under construction of any state in Australia. This 5,000 MW pipeline represents one-quarter of all projects across the nation.

This additional capacity is more than the equivalent of three new coal-fired power stations.

But the state still relies heavily on fossil fuels for electricity. Coal provides 73 per cent and gas 18 per cent of Queensland’s power supply.

Climate Councillor Greg Bourne said the report shows how low-cost renewables can help  transition away from fossil fuels.

Lowest prices for new power generation

Queensland solar and wind projects have set some of the lowest prices for new power generation anywhere in Australia.

The Coopers Gap wind farm, for example, has set a record low price of $60/MWh – around half the cost of new coal-fired energy.

“A new wind farm in Queensland is half the cost of a new coal plant, new large-scale solar is less than two-thirds of the cost,” Bourne said.

Large-scale projects underway in QLD include Lakeland (solar and battery storage), Kennedy Energy Park (solar, wind and battery storage) and Kidston (solar and pumped hydro).

Queensland renewable power boom a critical opportunity for change

Despite finding Queensland the most energy secure state in Australia, it’s fast approaching a crossroads on energy policy. High domestic gas prices, driven by LNG
exports, would continue to push costs higher for Queensland households.

Climate change is worsening the effects of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, which supports 70,000 jobs and a $7 billion economy in Queensland.

However, the benefits of renewable energy are clear, the report stated. Homes with installed solar use 18 per cent less energy from the grid than those without.

“It’s a no-brainer,” Bourne said. “Renewable power is cheaper, modern power and it’s better for the environment too.”