Queensland triples solar ambition

The Queensland Government has tripled its election commitment in providing long-term financial support to up to 120MW of installed large-scale solar generation.

Visiting the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, US, 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, the Queensland Government 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 (ARENA), 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.

Mr Bailey said the combination of these two initiatives will lower the cost of large-scale solar and remove obstacles such as financing and commercial viability.

“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,” he said.