Report: Queensland leading Australia’s renewables race

Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni with Stanwell and Cubico executives who are holding spades and turning first soil at Wambo Wind Farm (renewables)
Image: Queensland Government

A new report by independent public interest think tank Climate Energy Finance (CEF) finds that Queensland’s nation-leading investment into transmission, large-scale low-cost renewable energy and Consumer Energy Resources (CER) is crowding-in a tidal wave of public and private capital.

Leveraging Queensland’s game-changing $62 billion Energy and Jobs Plan, this is accelerating the state’s energy transition, reducing reliance on expensive, polluting fossil fuels and putting downward pressure on household and commercial energy bills.

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Queensland is at the precipice of transforming from a legacy coal and gas petrostate to a cleantech superpower in the critical minerals and green hydrogen key to global decarbonisation, setting it up for its economic future as a zero-emissions energy, employment, trade and investment leader.

This has implications for nationwide decarbonisation, putting pressure on the Federal government to likewise accelerate transition investment.

Leading energy analyst Tim Buckley, director of CEF and co-author of the report Queensland’s Energy Transformation: From Coal Colossus to Renewable Energy Superpower, said, “Queensland has leveraged the multibillion dollar revenue bonanza reaped from progressive coal royalties during a period of coal price hyperinflation to reinvest in public infrastructure to enable the state’s decarbonisation. This is good public policy.

“While neither Queensland’s pumped hydro storage nor CopperString projects are commercially viable in isolation, the government’s investment is an enabler of massive follow-on investment, signalling political confidence and policy certainty to investors, accelerating momentum, and underwriting the transformation.

“This in turn will enable massive investments in zero-emissions future industries, such as critical minerals, driving exports, regional employment and investment, as a flood of firmed renewables slashes industrial and residential energy bills.

“Underpinning this is the core value of avoiding the environmental and financial costs of fossil-fuel driven climate change—costs ‘socialised’ onto all in the form of massive floods, increasing insurance premiums and uninsurability. Decarbonisation is the solution to these climate-related crises,” Buckley said.

“The wider lesson is for the Federal government and state counterparts to share this vision and ambition. We are headed at last in the right direction, and it’s time to accelerate. Economies the world over are rapidly decarbonising. Global leader, China, is greening its economy at a staggering pace and the US government is investing US$1 trillion in the Inflation Reduction Act’s “green new deal”, now driving massive deployment of renewables, jobs and GDP growth.

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“Australia should take a lead from Queensland and its global partners and act now with a landmark, nation-building strategic investment of public capital into the Future Fund, to leverage existing investments in the National Reconstruction Fund and Rewiring the Nation. We need the government to underwrite local procurement policies to underpin domestic manufacturing.”

CEF is urging the government to commit another $100 billion in the May Federal Budget, which would unleash hundreds of billions in private capital and accelerate nationwide decarbonisation.

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