Queensland’s future as Australia’s clean energy capital and innovation hub were on the agenda for a series of high-level meetings Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk held in the Colorado capital today.
The Premier and her Colorado counterpart, Governor John Hickenlooper, explored forging closer relations between government and business in their states.
“Queensland and Colorado share a lot of common ground, particularly in the fields of renewable energy, innovation and mining technology,” the Premier said.
“I believe our two states have many shared interests, and a strong working relationship could produce dividends across many sectors.
“We are a world leader in METS (Mining Equipment, Technology and Services) with more than 400 companies and with our natural advantages I’m excited about the potential to grow export markets.
“Colorado is a METS hub for the US, while its capital, Denver, has a thriving start-up sector.
“We also know that with the famous Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, tourism is crucial to the Colorado economy. Governor Hickenlooper and I held a very productive meeting discussing opportunities across a range of areas, and we agreed to work closely together to build on this initial meeting.”
Innovations such as the future of robotics were also on the agenda for a meeting with senior figures from the Colorado School of Mines (CSM).
“They were keen to hear about our METS Ignited industry growth centre we have established at the Queensland University of Technology and explore future collaborations in a broad range of shared interests,” the Premier said.
CSM is a partner in the US Department of Energy’s National Advanced Biofuels Consortium, led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), with whom Ms Palaszczuk also met today to strengthen ties with Queensland researchers.
“I’m determined that biofuels will be the next chapter in Queensland’s economic success story and it’s essential we collaborate with the other leading researchers around the world,” the Premier said.
“I was able to brief the NREL on our research into developing commercial biofuels from various non-food produce such as sugar cane waste and weeds like prickly acacia.
“NREL is also a world-leader when it comes to renewables research. I’m determined to ensure Queensland makes the most of its natural advantages, including a major focus on further integrating renewables into our energy mix.”
Queensland triples solar ambition for clean energy future
The Queensland Government has tripled its election commitment in providing long-term financial support to up to 120 megawatts (MW) of installed large-scale solar generation.
Visiting the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the expanded commitment would provide Queensland’s electricity network with a large-scale supply of renewable energy and continue to stimulate solar energy investment.
“Developing and expanding Queensland’s renewable energy industry is a central component of my Government’s energy policy agenda, and will create new jobs and diversify the economy,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“In August 2015, we upped our solar election commitment from 40MW to 60MW, and we have now committed to 120MW of solar projects.
“This commitment extends Government’s push for investment in new, large-scale solar generation developments in Queensland.
“Last week, my Government also announced Ergon’s power purchase agreement for the development of the 170MW Mount Emerald wind farm in far North Queensland.”
Minister for Energy Mark Bailey said Queensland was quickly transitioning from the Sunshine State to the Solar State.
“The Solar 120 program will create hundreds of regional construction jobs, boost investment, act on climate change, and deliver value for both customers and government,” he said.
“Queensland-based projects shortlisted by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, that go on to secure federal support, will become eligible for State Government funding.
“By providing long-term financial support this initiative ideally complements ARENA’s program which will provide upfront capital grants to construct major renewable energy generators.
“The combination of these two initiatives will lower the cost of large-scale solar and remove obstacles such as financing and commercial viability to support the growth of large-scale solar in Queensland.
“Queensland has some of the best solar resources in the world and is ideally placed to benefit as solar generation becomes an increasingly important part of Australia’s electricity generation mix.”