Regional poll shows surprising support for renewables

Solar panels against the cloudy sky (regional)

A new survey of regional Queenslanders by Solar Citizens has found 45.5 per cent of those polled support transitioning to a renewables-dominated grid at some point over the next 15 years. Nearly a third of people want the transition to happen faster, within the next 10 years.

The regional-only poll, which excluded Queenslanders in the greater Brisbane area and Gold Coast, showed that 52.1 per cent of people think the state government should develop a plan to move away from polluting energy and generate all Queensland’s electricity from clean sources like wind and solar.

More than 50 per cent of people agree or strongly agree that clean energy industries, like renewable hydrogen production, will be major employers by 2030.

“What’s interesting about the results is that, while there’s absolutely an appetite for more clean energy among regional Queenslanders, it’s younger people that were the most reluctant to transition our power supply,” Solar Citizens energy strategist Stephanie Gray said.

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“I think this demonstrates that governments are not doing enough to show young people what the jobs of the future look like—there are actually really exciting economic opportunities that regional Queensland can benefit from as the world transitions to cleaner energy and electric transport. 

“Queensland is blessed with some of the world’s best solar resources, which can be turned into cheap and abundant energy to power renewable hydrogen production, and more local manufacturing and minerals mining.

“The energy transition doesn’t mean that Queensland will stop being a global energy powerhouse, we’ll just be producing a different kind of energy.”

A substantial 41.8 per cent of those polled would like to see the federal government invest more in renewable energy, while 21.4 per cent are happy with the current level of spending. 

“Just around Townsville there are already several proposals to build renewable hydrogen facilities, battery manufacturing hubs and chemical processing plants underpinned by cheap, clean energy,” Ms Gray said.

“Governments need to back projects like this to create thousands of long-term jobs and show Queenslanders that these are our big economic opportunities moving forward.”

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Polling was commissioned by Solar Citizens and conducted by uComms on July 14, 2021. Key results include:

  • 66.2 per cent of people polled support the Federal government spending more (41.8 per cent) on renewable energy or maintaining the current level of spending (21.4 per cent).
  • 51.6 per cent of people agree or strongly agree that clean energy industries, like renewable hydrogen production, will be major employers by 2030.
  • 52.1 per cent of regional people polled support a transition plan that will pave the way for all of Queensland’s electricity coming from clean sources like solar and wind.
  • 45.5 per cent of those polled support transitioning to a renewables-dominated grid at some point over the next 15 years, with 29.4% wanting the transition to occur even quicker and over the next 10 years.

Sample size: 1,088.
Who was polled: Eligible Queensland voters living in regional Queensland, which excludes the greater Brisbane area and Gold Coast.
Mode of polling: Automated telephone poll.
Margin of Error associated with effective sample size: +/- 3.2%.
Variables used in weighting: age, gender, regional QLD population distributions.