Getting Clean Energy on Queensland's Election Agenda - Solar Citizens

Getting Clean Energy on Queensland's Election Agenda

In the lead up to the October 2020 Queensland election, solar citizens across the state got active to pressure all sides of politics to back more ambitious renewable energy policies. Together, we won some exciting commitments!

Before the 2015 and 2017 state elections, Queensland Labor made substantial commitments to clean energy. However by the beginning of 2020 the State Government had failed to deliver adequately on those promises. 

Analysis from Green Energy Markets in July last year showed that Queensland was only on track to reach 30% renewables by 2030 – well short of the State’s 50% target. The delivery of the promised 400MW was running two years overdue and investment in the large-scale renewable energy industry had crashed. 

No large-scale renewable energy project reached financial close in Queensland in 2019. Developers told us they were “looking down south” because the conditions were just not right to build in the Sunshine State, citing transmission gridlocks, policy uncertainty and low wholesale electricity prices during the middle of the day. That’s why at the beginning of 2020, Solar Citizens graded the State Government a C- for their clean energy progress in our public report card.

Fast-forward nine months later and the State Government is back on track to reach their 50% renewable energy target by 2030. Government-owned utility companies have done deals that will see five solar and wind farms come to fruition – including the largest wind and solar farms in Australia to date. They also directly responded to our ask for three Renewable Energy Zones by allocating $145 million for work to begin on these vital transmission projects.

What We Did, Together

  • Held 40 community events and volunteer actions.
  • Opened Townsville's Clean Energy Hub in the CBD to highlight how renewable projects are already bringing jobs to the regions.
  • Generated almost 50 unique media hits in Queensland with a total of 229 syndications. 
  • Reached hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders with digital advertising.
  • Encouraged close to 6,000 Queenslanders to take action online.
  • Advertised on 6 billboards and 2 buses.
  • Visited Hughenden in central North Queensland to film locals talking about the benefits of renewable projects coming to regional towns – the social media video has now been viewed 32,000 times.

Townsville action

What We Won

The Queensland Labor Government was re-elected after doing the following:

  • Invested $500 million in a Renewable Energy Fund for more publicly-owned renewable energy projects and transmission.
  • Allocated $145 million to start the development of three renewable energy zones: in the Darling Downs, Central Queensland and North Queensland.
  • Supported the delivery of CopperString 2.0 by underwriting the initial investment costs, on top of $14.8 million in initial investment. CopperString 2.0 will enable more solar and wind projects to be built in North Queensland.
  • Awarded the 400MW reverse auction to the McIntyre wind farm. 
  • Delivered 530MW of new renewable generation through CleanCo, taking them halfway to their 1GW by 2025 target
  • Government-owned Stanwell Corporation and CS Energy have also recently made Power Purchase Agreements which will enable the Clarke Creek wind farm and Columboola solar farm to proceed.
  • Backed a new $23 million Renewable Energy Training Facility to provide skills training for 750 apprentices a year as well as assisting about 26,000 local licensed electricians with further training.
  • Committed to extend the solar for hospitals trial by allocating $30 million for solar to be installed across 50 sites.
  • Pledged a further $10 million to develop a hydrogen industry.