Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

Plan to Charge Up Queensland Battery Manufacturing Welcomed

12 May 2022: Plan to Charge Up Queensland Battery Manufacturing Welcomed

Solar Citizens today welcomes a plan by the Federal Labor Opposition to kickstart battery manufacturing in Queensland by partnering with the Queensland Government and allocating $100 million to create a Battery Manufacturing Precinct. 

“We’re seeing a lot of interest from business, particularly in Townsville and Gladstone, to utilise Queensland’s abundant renewable energy resources to affordably manufacture battery materials, solar panels and renewable hydrogen,” said Stephanie Gray, Energy Strategist at Solar Citizens.

“Government investment, like what Labor is putting on the table here, is key to setting up the right infrastructure and giving the business sector confidence to build projects in Queensland.

 “With the right planning and investment, Regional Queensland will have a bright economic future making clean technology and renewable hydrogen to power cities here and overseas.

“Regional Queenslanders have been powering Australia and other parts of the world for a very long time and those same communities are perfectly placed to keep playing that important role as the world moves to cut emissions.

“The next step for all levels of government is to support the urgent rollout of vital grid infrastructure in Queensland, like CopperString 2.0 and Renewable Energy Zones, so that more solar and wind projects can connect and provide cheap energy to the grid.”

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Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425 543 006

Clean energy scorecard shines spotlight on election greenwashing

12 May 2022: Clean energy scorecard shines spotlight on election greenwashing 

Solar Citizens have launched their 2022 election to show voters what the major parties are really bringing to the table on renewable energy and clean transport. 

“Climate and cost of living are top of mind for voters this election and we’ve seen a lot of talk and eleventh hour promises from both sides but there's a clear divide between the major parties,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

“Our Scorecard lays out where the major parties stand on key renewable energy and clean transport issues, so voters can cut through the spin and see if their candidates are offering real action, or greenwashing.

“Rolling out affordable renewable energy and electric transport is a clear pathway to lower bills and lower emissions. Yet some parties are still offering dead-end policies that will delay the transition to renewables and electric vehicles and lock households into rising coal, gas and petrol prices.

“Everyday Australians have been doing the heavy lifting to transition our energy system, with over three million solar rooftops and counting, and more people than ever now looking to switch to electric vehicles. 

“But Australians have been let down by a lack of federal action to bring cheap renewable energy online as quickly as possible or bring affordable electric cars to our shores.

“This election is an opportunity to unlock Australia’s potential as a renewable superpower, with clean industries and future-proof jobs, and cheap clean energy and electric vehicles that slash the cost of living.

“Our scorecard will help Australians vote for a clean future when they head to the polls next Saturday.”

Solar Citizens is calling for all parties to commit to a plan to transition to 100% renewable energy, investment in transmission infrastructure and renewable hydrogen and manufacturing, support for rooftop solar and battery uptake, and electric vehicle subsidies and fuel efficiency standards. 

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Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694

Townsville Hydrogen Hub Funding Celebrated

26 April 2022: Townsville Hydrogen Hub Funding Celebrated

Community group Solar Citizens has today welcomed the announcement by the Morrison Government that they will allocate up to $70 million to turn the city into a hub for renewable hydrogen production. 

“There are three major renewable hydrogen projects proposed in Townsville so it’s a no-brainer for the Federal Government to invest in local infrastructure to ensure these significant projects, and others like them, can move forward,” said Stephanie Gray, Energy Strategist at Solar Citizens.

“North Queensland has impressive solar and wind resources that can be turned into clean hydrogen fuel so we can continue to power cities overseas like we do now.

“Becoming a renewable hydrogen powerhouse is one of the key ways that regional Queensland can capitalise on the world’s shift to a cleaner economy and create future-proof jobs. We can also use our renewable energy potential to create abundant cheap electricity to power up new onshore manufacturing and mineral processing industries.

“In Townsville we can have our cake and eat it too. We can power future-proof jobs while taking action on climate change and protecting our environment, including the Great Barrier Reef.

“We’d like to see the Federal Labor Opposition back in this commitment, so no matter who is elected come polling day, Townsville gets its fair share of renewable hydrogen funding.”

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Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425543006

Queensland Backs New Wind Farms in Welcomed Announcement

17 March 2022: Queensland Backs New Wind Farms in Welcomed Announcement

An announcement today that the Queensland Government will invest $192.5 million to build a 250 MW wind farm at Wambo near Dalby has been celebrated by community group Solar Citizens. 

The Government also announced $170 million to build the transmission infrastructure to connect the proposed 1,000 MW MacIntyre Wind Precinct to Queensland’s energy grid.

“Investing in more local clean energy projects is a smart move by the Queensland Government that will put downward pressure on electricity prices while slashing the State’s pollution,” said Stephanie Gray, Energy Strategist at Solar Citizens. 

“Expensive coal and gas prices are driving up electricity bills for Queenslanders while we’re being hit by high petrol prices at the fuel pump.

“Yesterday the State Government announced a $3,000 rebate for electric vehicles. Together these announcements will help more Queenslanders cut their cost of living by powering their cars with homegrown and affordable renewable energy.

“The Queensland Government has taken an important step today by beginning to allocate their $2 billion Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund. The sooner they allocate the rest of the fund, the sooner Queenslanders will see more bill savings.”

Solar Citizens is calling for the Queensland Government to allocate the $2 billion fund as soon as possible to slash the State’s carbon pollution while powering regional jobs. 

“Queensland has world-class solar and wind resources that can be turned into abundant cheap energy to power new manufacturing industries in renewable hydrogen and solar panel production, and minerals processing for electric vehicle batteries,” said Ms Gray. 

“The Sunshine State has all the key ingredients to benefit as the world embraces low-emissions products and technology. Spending the $2 billion clean energy fund and rolling out Renewable Energy Zones is the first step to turning Queensland into a renewable energy jobs powerhouse.”

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Media contact:

Stephanie Gray 0425543006

Queensland Electric Vehicle Subsidies Get Qld Out of the Slow Lane

16th March 2022: Queensland Electric Vehicle Subsidies Get Qld Out of the Slow Lane

The Queensland Government’s $55 million electric vehicle funding package has today been welcomed by clean transport advocacy group Solar Citizens as an important first step to driving down transport pollution. The announcement includes $3,000 for 15,000 electric vehicles and $10 million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“With fuel prices and the cost of living going through the roof, more and more people want to switch to cars you can fuel up at home for a fraction of the cost,” said Stephanie Gray, Strategist at Solar Citizens.

“Government support for the rollout of electric vehicles is vital for Australian families to have a long-term solution to battle volatile petrol prices. 

“Electric vehicles are cheaper to run and maintain than petrol cars and they slash emissions, but the price tag is still a major barrier for many people.”

A survey of a representative sample of 807 Queenslanders commissioned by Solar Citizens in December 2021 found that purchase price was the biggest barrier to switching to an electric vehicle, particularly for those on a low income. 

“The $3,000 rebate is a practical step to reduce the cost of electric vehicles and puts Queensland on the same page as states like New South Wales and South Australia that are encouraging the uptake of cleaner cars,” said Ms Gray.

“But more government support is needed to build a thriving local electric vehicle industry and provide commuters with a reprieve from high fuel prices.

“We’ve seen a number of states make commitments to boost the uptake of electric transport while the Morrison Government has been asleep at the wheel on this issue.

“There’s plenty more that both states and the Federal Government can do to slash the upfront cost of cleaner electric cars so that Australians can cash in on the fuel savings.”

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Media contact: 

Stephanie Gray 0425 543 006

Lansdown Announcement A Win for Townsville's Economy

14 March 2022: Lansdown Announcement A Win for Townsville's Economy

Solar Citizens today celebrates the Federal Labor Opposition announcement that they’ll allocate $22 million to help establish the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct and kick-start local renewable manufacturing. 

“North Queensland has all the key ingredients to become a leader in renewable manufacturing and hydrogen production, including some of the country’s best solar and wind resources, critical mineral deposits in the North West Minerals Province and a skilled local workforce,” said Stephanie Gray, Energy Strategist at Solar Citizens. 

“If the Lansdown Precinct goes ahead it will create more than 6,000 ongoing local jobs in solar panel manufacturing, minerals processing and renewable hydrogen production.

“This extra federal funding is essential to build the infrastructure that will make the site plug in ready for new manufacturing projects. Without this federal investment there’s a risk that these projects will find a different location to set up shop.

“Now it’s up to Herbert MP Phillip Thompson to match this funding so no matter what happens on polling day Townsville is positioning itself for long-term economic prosperity.”

This announcement comes after research from the Victorian Hydrogen Hub found Northern Queensland is the cheapest location to produce hydrogen made from renewable energy because of the region’s world-class solar and wind resources.

Modelling from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) shows a staggering 20,400 MW of new solar and wind farms are expected to be built in Queensland by 2030 if the Sunshine State becomes a renewable hydrogen superpower. According to Solar Citizens, this would create 30,000 solar and wind farm construction jobs and 1,800 ongoing jobs in renewable energy operations and maintenance by 2030.

Calls for a More Ambitious Queensland Renewables Target as State set to Beat 50% Goal 5 Years Early

9 March 2022: Calls for a More Ambitious Queensland Renewables Target as State set to Beat 50% Goal 5 Years Early

New analysis has found that Queensland’s accelerating renewable energy pipeline is on track to supply 50 per cent of the State’s electricity demand by 2025, five years ahead of the State Government target.

The report, from the Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) and Solar Citizens, found that Queensland will reach its 50 per cent Renewable Energy Target five years early once an impressive 5,100 MW pipeline of large-scale solar and wind projects connects to the grid and the State Government has allocated their announced $2 billion clean energy fund.

“There are several big solar and wind farms under construction or looking very likely to proceed to construction soon. Our analysis shows that, combined with continued growth of rooftop solar, these projects would get Queensland to almost 45 per cent renewable by 2025,” said Clare Silcock, Energy Strategist at QCC.

“In addition the Queensland government is sitting on a $2 billion Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund they announced last year. If that was allocated to renewable energy projects today Queensland could easily reach the 50 per cent Renewable Energy Target by 2025.”

“Our findings make it clear the Queensland Government must expand their renewable target to avoid setting a limit on renewable investment. If the State Government only wants to achieve 50 per cent renewables by 2030 it will mean private investment in solar and wind will have to stall after 2025.”

The Queensland Government is currently developing a 10-Year Energy Plan. The Plan is expected to be released this year and will shape Queensland’s electricity system in the 10 years up to 2032 when Brisbane will host the world’s first climate positive Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“The Palaszczuk government has certainly stepped up their ambition on renewable energy since the last election and this is good news for Queenslanders and their hip pockets. Unfortunately, every other Australian state is still outcompeting the Sunshine State when it comes to leading the rollout of affordable renewable energy,” said Ellen Roberts, National Director of Solar Citizens.

“If Palaszczuk wants a thriving renewable hydrogen industry then Queensland will need to start catching up to the other States.

“It would be a missed opportunity if the 10-Year Energy Plan limits Queensland to a 50 per cent target because it will mean we’ll miss out on new clean manufacturing opportunities in renewable hydrogen, solar panel and battery storage production. Queensland’s lack of ambition will mean we miss out on future-proof regional jobs.

“That’s why we’re calling on the Queensland Government to match the clean energy ambition we’re seeing elsewhere in Australia and aim to repower our entire system with renewables by 2030.”

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Report available here.

Media contacts:
Clare Silcock 0481 055 531
Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694

Australia Hits Huge 25GW Solar Milestone

14th February 2022: Australia hits huge 25GW solar milestone, but Government action needed to keep solar growing

Australia has reached a milestone 25GW of installed solar, according to the Australian PV Institute. Australia has more solar per capita than anywhere else in the world. 

“Australia is the sunny country and we’ve been able to capitalise on that abundant solar energy to slash electricity costs and lower emissions,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

“Solar homes and businesses are doing the heavy lifting to transition our energy system and we’ve reached this fantastic 25GW milestone.

“But now Governments need to step up to and ensure that rooftop solar can continue to grow and everyone is able to access the benefits of cheap clean energy.

“Governments are failing to keep up with incredible growth of solar, and we’re starting to see issues arise in the distribution network where the policy and technology isn’t keeping pace.

“We’re seeing these problems in states like Western Australia and South Australia where they’ve just introduced new powers to shut off solar systems when excess solar threatens grid stability.

“Instead of backwards measures like cutting off solar, we need to see governments proactively rolling out smarter solutions, like more batteries and dynamically managing solar exports.

“As we decarbonise our homes and switch to electric vehicles we need to be ready to make the most of all the cheap energy straight from the sun.

“Just today we’ve seen a new Bill introduced to Federal Parliament by Helen Haines to make home batteries more economical and to help electrify households.

“This could potentially save people up to $5,000 a year and further slash emissions at a household level, while making the most of our solar advantage. It’s a win-win but governments must step up to support this exciting solar future.”

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Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694

Queensland’s Renewable Hydrogen Potential a Jobs Bonanza

Turning Queensland into a renewable hydrogen superpower will create 30,000 solar and wind farm construction jobs and 1,800 ongoing jobs in renewable energy operations and maintenance by 2030, according to a new report from community group Solar Citizens. 

The job figures come from an analysis of newly released Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) modelling showing the projected build-out of large-scale renewable projects if Australia becomes a significant exporter of hydrogen made with renewable energy.

A staggering 20,400 MW of new solar and wind farms are modelled to be built in Queensland’s Renewable Energy Zones by 2030 if Australia becomes a renewable hydrogen superpower. Currently there are approximately 4,500 MW large-scale renewable power plants operating or under construction across the State.

“Our analysis shows that tapping into the Sunshine State’s potential to become a renewable hydrogen powerhouse will create an additional 10,000 renewable construction jobs by 2030 compared to the trajectory we’re currently headed on,” said Stephanie Gray, Energy Strategist at Solar Citizens.

“But the jobs in renewable energy project construction and management are just the tip of the iceberg. If we tap into Queensland’s incredible solar and wind potential to create abundant cheap energy we’ll also be powering jobs in hydrogen production, minerals processing and manufacturing.”

This analysis comes as the Queensland government is developing their plans for three Renewable Energy Zones in Northern, Central and Southern Queensland. A Renewable Energy Zone is a location with good renewable energy resources that has been identified as a strategic location to build out grid infrastructure so new solar, wind and storage projects can connect to the grid.

“We recently commissioned polling showing 60 per cent of Queenslanders think the State’s grid should be powered entirely by renewable sources within the next 15 years, if not before,” said Ms Gray.

“But right now the Queensland government’s draft renewable plans fall well short of the clean energy ambition we’re seeing in New South Wales and Victoria. This is despite 62 per cent of Queenslanders agreeing the State’s Renewable Energy Zone plans should at least be in line with New South Wales’ and Victoria’s plans.

“Other States are racing to attract the investor attention for new renewable industries. Queensland will lose out if we don’t invest in enough renewable energy infrastructure.”

Queensland initially plans to unlock 3,300 MW of new transmission capacity in their REZs, while New South Wales has a goal of unlocking 12,000 MW of new renewable generation and 2,000 MW of storage by 2030, and Victoria is aiming for 10,000 MW.

Solar Citizens is calling for the Queensland government to ensure at least 2,000 MW of new renewable energy generation is added to each of Queensland’s three Renewable Energy Zone regions by 2025. An open letter supporting this recommendation has been signed by groups including the Australia Institute, Beyond Zero Emissions, and hydrogen proponent Edify Energy. 

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See attached:

The polling mentioned refers to a representative sample of 807 Queenslanders polled by market research firm Dynata in December.

North Well-placed to Lead Emerging Hydrogen Industry

17 January 2022: North Well-placed to Lead Emerging Hydrogen Industry

New research released from Steven Percy from the Victorian Hydrogen Hub demonstrates how exceptionally well-placed Northern Queensland is to lead Australia’s emerging renewable hydrogen industry. 

The research finds that Northern Queensland is the cheapest location to produce hydrogen made from renewable energy because of the region’s world-class solar and wind resources.

“It’s pretty staggering that the federal government is still overlooking Townsville as a priority location for hydrogen hub funding when the evidence shows that the North is the cheapest place in the country to produce renewable hydrogen,” said Stephanie Gray, Energy Strategist at Solar Citizens.

The Federal Government has allocated $464 million to enable the rollout of hydrogen hubs across seven prospective regional sites, which include Bell Bay (TAS), Darwin (NT), Eyre Peninsula (SA), Gladstone (QLD), Latrobe Valley (VIC), Hunter Valley (NSW), and Pilbara (WA).

“There are already three major renewable hydrogen projects proposed for Townsville. Industry has recognised this region’s potential and now it’s time for the Morrison government to see it too.

“Queensland has been an exporter of energy for a long time and into the future we can continue to power the world by producing renewable hydrogen for export. Investing in new clean industries is how we create good, future-proof jobs for Queenslanders.

“But so far Queensland has largely missed out on federal funding for energy because, unlike States like New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania, an Energy and Emissions Reduction deal has not been announced for the Sunshine State.”

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Release refers to the research presented in the Conversation.