Experts say the renewable energy sector could expand sixfold if each of the planned projects proceeds and the government concentrates on carbon reduction policies and removing coal generators.
Although regional Queensland is on the verge of a massive renewable energy boom, a large portion of renewable energy projects will never be constructed unless the government phases out coal-fired power stations.
The sector could see job growth reach 34,000 during construction phases, and a further 1,500 jobs ongoing once the projects are completed.
Queensland wind and solar farms are currently performing well above international standards, with most of them offering 20% to 50% more efficiency.
While the future looks good based on projects on the cards, for Queensland to really capitalise on the opportunities, policy needs to be completely turned upside down. Queensland’s renewable energy generation target is set at 50% for the year 2030, however figures show that it could easily reach 90% if policy changes came into effect and coal-fired power stations were prematurely retired.
New government policy will be required to inspire further carbon pollution reductions within the electricity sector, or to close existing power plants for good. The state’s current offerings of solar, wind, hydro, bio and geothermal resources offers a much higher competitive edge over other states and countries, however, without better policies, the opportunities could be missed, allowing Queenslanders to suffer in the fallout.
A recent assessment of the energy grid by Powerlink suggests that there is plenty of room to support considerable added renewable energy capacity in the network, however for most areas the capacity would need to be upgraded to enable the projects to proceed.
The boom has already begun across the Darling Downs, west of Brisbane, where one council has approved wind and solar projects to the tune of $6 billion. The boom has taken a region that recently suffered an abrupt end to coal seam development and is a major boost to the local economy. On top of the projects already approved, 3 more are in the works, delivering a plethora of renewable energy generators to this region.
The area is well-located with access to great sun and wind resources, as well as in close vicinity to good transmission lines, making it one of the country’s biggest investor hotspot right now.
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