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Solar Citizens Celebrates Wind Jobs Bonanza

26 March 2020: Solar Citizens Celebrates Wind Jobs Bonanza

Solar Citizens congratulates the Queensland Government on the announcement that the
publicly-owned generator CleanCo will build a new wind farm near Warwick.

The announcement comes as the Government also awards the long-awaited 400MW reverse auction to ACCIONA for wind generation at the same MacIntyre Precinct. 

“It’s a smart move by the Queensland Government to roll out renewable energy infrastructure announcements now, so that Queenslanders reap the job and investment benefits in the months and years to come,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director. 

“Right now a lot of families are doing it tough and more clean, renewable energy projects will help drive down power prices.”

The wind farm precinct will create 400 jobs and enough clean energy to power 700,000 homes. 

“This is a great first step, but we need to see many more announcements like this if Queensland is to achieve it’s 50% by 2030 renewable energy target,” said Mrs Roberts. 

“As well as supporting more large-scale clean energy projects, the Government should be prioritising more rooftop solar on public housing, as well as for low-income households and renters, so that power prices are driven down during this difficult time and for many years to come.”

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Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694

About Solar Citizens: Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organisation working to protect and grow renewable energy in Australia. We represent the millions of Australians that have rooftop solar, and all Australians that support the transition to clean renewable energy.

Taylor's technology road map won't fix clean energy investment crash

‘Today’s announcement from Angus Taylor on the technology roadmap should be of concern to everyone who wants to see a speedier transition to clean energy,’ said Ellen Roberts, National Director of Solar Citizens.

‘While Taylor is right to highlight how cheap wind and solar are as sources of generation we need policy settings at Federal level that enable the clean energy sector to continue to grow. The Renewable Energy Target will expire this year, with no policy to replace it.’

‘The Morrison Government’s lack of leadership on clean energy is causing investment in the renewable energy sector to crash. After a record construction boom in the last two years, new renewable energy projects under construction in Queensland this year will crash to zero this year.’

‘Policy certainty means investment certainty, which creates jobs and brings down emissions. Time for the Morrison government to get on with the job. They need to restore funding to ARENA in this years budget and reintroduce targets for renewable energy.’

‘Taylor has said he will not set targets for reducing emissions or increasing the amount of renewable energy in our grid. However it was Howard’s Renewable Energy Target has incentivised new renewable energy investment.’

‘Most concerning is the proposed investment into research in carbon capture and storage. It is not yet clear whether this will be used for fossil fuel projects. Millions of dollars have been wasted on funding research into carbon capture and storage for coal fired power stations, for no results. Let's not see money wasted in this way.’

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For comment call Ellen Roberts on 0408 583 694

Queensland Government falls behind on support for renewables

Solar Citizens has today released a report card on the Queensland Government’s progress on its renewable energy commitments, marking them C- overall.

‘Sadly the Queensland government is barely scraping a pass on their renewable energy report card, because they’re not on track to achieve their aim of 50% renewable energy by 2030,’ said Solar Citizens National Director Ellen Roberts. 

Solar Citizens assessed the full range of the Queensland government’s renewable energy commitments and found:

  • The delivery of the 400MW reverse auction is now running two years overdue, although an announcement is expected from CleanCo in a matter of weeks;
  • The Government just failed to reach its goal of 3GW of rooftop solar by 2020; 
  • The rays of sunlight are the Advancing Clean Energy Schools program is so far on track, as well as progress made towards renewable energy in remote communities. 

A 2019 analysis by Green Energy Markets found that Queensland is only on track to meet 30% renewable energy by 2030, requiring another 4,500MW of projects on top of the Government’s commitment to deliver 1000MW through CleanCo to reach the 50% target.

‘Labor are certainly ahead of the LNP, who have made some topline statements but don’t support a planned transition to clean, renewable energy. But Labor need to turn their policies on paper into real action on the ground.

We’ve experienced a renewable energy construction boom in Queensland since 2016, but the number of new large-scale clean energy projects committed to last year crashed to almost nothing.

‘Just over a year ago at the height of construction activity close to 3,000 people were employed across Queensland’s regions building new clean energy plants, but if nothing changes that number will fall to zero in a matter of months.

‘The Queensland government can turn this around, but they need to do this quickly to avoid renewable investment flowing to other states that have better support for renewable energy.

‘Queensland is a world leader when it comes to rooftop solar. Queenslanders are doing their bit, and now it’s time for the government to support investment and jobs in clean energy.’

The full report card can be accessed at: https://www.solarcitizens.org.au/qld_renewable_progress_facts

About Solar Citizens: Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organisation working to protect and grow renewable energy in Australia. We represent the millions of Australians that have rooftop solar, and all Australians that support the transition to clean renewable energy.

[ENDS]

Media contact: Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens' National Director
0408583694

Morrison needs to ensure all States get transmission dollars - not just Liberal ones

Solar Citizens has this morning welcomed the Federal contribution to investment in transmission infrastructure in New South Wales, but says people living in Labor states like Queensland and Victoria also deserve to benefit from Federal investment.

It was announced this morning that NSW would receive around a billion dollars of federal funding to support new renewable energy zones and other transmission infrastructure in a deal between the State and the Federal government.

‘This is an excellent investment in the further development of renewable energy and there are plenty of renewable energy zones around the country that should also receive Federal funds,’ said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens' National Director.  

‘Upgrades to transmission infrastructure are urgently needed to support the energy transition and ensure the resilience of our electricity grid in the face of increasing extreme weather.

‘Scott Morrison also claimed this morning that we need more gas fired power generation. This is simply untrue. We can meet our needs with the right combination of renewable energy and storage.’

[ENDS]

For comment call Ellen Roberts on 0408 583 694

About Solar Citizens: Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organisation working to protect and grow renewable energy in Australia. We represent the millions of Australians that have rooftop solar, and all Australians that support the transition to clean renewable energy.

Scott Morrison dodges the blame on renewable jobs crash

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison claimed on ABC radio this morning that Australia was leading the world on renewable energy investment. This is plainly untrue, as investment in new utility scale projects crashed last year.

"Prime Minister Scott Morrison is trying to cover up the fact that he has no policy for ensuring renewable energy growth, and this policy vacuum is responsible for the crash in investment," said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

"In Queensland the number of utility renewable energy construction jobs is set to fall to zero in 2020 if State and Federal Governments don’t step up ambition on renewable energy growth, research commissioned by Solar Citizens shows. 

"The national Renewable Energy Target fuelled a renewable energy boom in Queensland over the last three years, creating thousands of jobs and giving Queenslanders affordable electricity. 

"But the RET has now been fully subscribed, and without the right policies to jump-start renewable energy project construction, the jobs and economic activity will completely collapse."

[ENDS]

About Solar Citizens: Solar Citizens is an independent, community-based organisation working to protect and grow renewable energy in Australia. We represent the millions of Australians that have rooftop solar, and all Australians that support the transition to clean renewable energy.


Contacts:
Ellen Roberts (Solar Citizens): 0408583694

3,000 QLD Construction Jobs Set to Disappear

The number of utility renewable energy construction jobs in Queensland is set to fall to zero next year if the Queensland Government doesn’t step up ambition on renewable energy growth, new analysis commissioned by Solar Citizens shows. 

The analysis, carried out by Green Energy Markets, shows that at the beginning of this year close to 3,000 construction jobs were created from new large-scale renewable projects.

But a staggering drop in large-scale renewable investment across 2019 will see the jobs dry up completely by April.

In Queensland the amount of new renewable generation commissioned has dropped from over 1,400MW two years ago to less than 20MW this year, largely due to the end of the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET).

“The RET has fuelled a renewable energy boom in Queensland over the last three years, creating thousands of jobs and giving Queenslanders affordable electricity,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

“But the RET has now been fully subscribed, and without the right policies to jump-start renewable energy project construction, the jobs and economic activity will completely collapse.

“But it doesn’t have to be this way. The solutions needed will not only keep Queenslanders employed in good jobs, they will also increase the amount of affordable, clean electricity in our Sunshine State and lay the groundwork for a strong, low-carbon economy,” said Roberts.

The Solar Citizens says the Queensland Government can protect renewable energy jobs by:

  • Accelerating delivery of Queensland’s Renewables 400 reverse auction programme, and bringing forward CleanCo’s 1,000MW target from 2025 to 2020 

  • Committing to support the construction of 1-2GW per year of new renewable energy generation capacity through to 2025.

  • Planning for a mix of public and privately owned clean energy power stations. 

“The Federal Government’s track record on transitioning the economy, and workers, to renewable energy has been pretty hopeless, but the Queensland State Government can stop this looming disaster,” said Roberts. 

“Accelerating and raising the ambition of Queensland’s renewable energy sector will be good for workers, residents, and the planet—it’s a win-win situation and a no-brainer for the Queensland Government,” said Roberts.

An earlier report from Green Energy Markets found that Queensland is not on track to meet its 50 per cent by 2030 renewable energy target, projecting the Sunshine State will only reach 30 per cent. 

[ENDS]

Contacts:
Ellen Roberts (Solar Citizens): 0408583694

Queensland Needs to Match NSW on Climate and Clean Energy

This morning NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean has announced his government’s commitment to tackling climate emissions, and making NSW a 'Saudi Arabia' of clean energy.

"NSW now has a stronger emissions target than Queensland, and are surging ahead in their support for renewable energy. It’s time for Queensland to step up," said Solar Citizens' National Director, Ellen Roberts.

"Queensland had seen a renewables boom over the last few years, but there has been a massive drop off of new projects commissioned this year. 

"The Queensland government needs to step in and support the development of Queensland’s world class renewable resources. 

"Unfortunately Queensland is not on track to meet our 50% by 2030 renewable energy target. Queensland has some of the best solar resources in the country, and we should make sure it's part of the race to the top on clean energy."

Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694

Western Sydney Community Power Hub to Deliver Renewable Solutions Under Labor

Friday 10 May 2019: Solar Citizens today welcomes federal Labor’s announcement that they’ll support a Community Power Hub in Western Sydney to help diverse communities access renewable energy solutions in a bid to deal with energy stress.

“It’s so great to see that Western Sydney’s diverse communities will be able to access energy information in their own language and from a trusted source,” said Joseph Scales, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

“The hub will also be instrumental in getting community renewable energy projects off the ground, so that everyone has a chance to access clean, affordable energy.

“At the moment, a large proportion of Western Sydney residents face barriers to slashing their bills with rooftop solar because they live in rental properties or apartment blocks.

“Community energy projects, like solar gardens, allow members of the community to participate in the energy transition and see the cost-cutting benefits for themselves.”

In the lead up to the federal election, Solar Citizens is calling on all sides of politics to commit to initiatives to help everyone access clean and affordable renewable energy.

The Western Sydney Community Power Hub, championed by the Voices for Power campaign from the Sydney Alliance which includes Solar Citizens as a member group, is an exciting step in the right direction. Although, Solar Citizens is calling on all sides of politics to go further by mandating solar on all new homes and assisting 500,000 renters access solar.

ENDS

Media contact: Stephanie 0425543006

SA and Federal Governments’ power credibility relies on Aurora power station

Friday, 5 April: Solar Citizens National Director Joseph Scales today said that with no future plans for coal fired power projects in South Australia, the State Government had to make sure the Aurora Solar Thermal Power Station succeeds.

“The Government can either fix this problem and get on the solar bus or watch power prices go through the roof on their watch,” said Mr Scales.

“The State and Federal Governments can’t wipe their hands of this, their credibility on power prices is attached to this project – it is simply too big to fail.

“Large scale solar generators like this one are absolutely central to the inevitable transition to provide firm renewable energy.

“This project is a beacon of light for Port Augusta and the whole community because it shows what is possible when people are proactive about the current energy sector transition.

“It gives a community which has relied on coal for generations a new and exciting future, beyond the traditional industries of the town, but aligned so that the jobs can go to the people that need them.”

His comments followed the announcement by the first-choice developer of the project to withdraw – a devastating blow to the local community and the whole state.

“The impact on Port Augusta will be huge but this project is bigger than Port Augusta – it’s about getting together to generate the kind of investments South Australia needs for the future in terms of jobs, innovation and electricity prices.”

The Port Augusta project promises to deliver 650 construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs once completed, as well as work flowing to local businesses.

“This project developer was only one of a number of interested parties, so there are others out there and that should be the starting place for an alternative developer.

“We’re calling for the State Government to immediately release an expression of interest to the market to identify alternative project proponents.

“Port Augusta and South Australians need the State and Federal Governments to act – this project is simply too important to South Australia’s energy future to fail.”

Media contact: Tim O’Halloran 0409 059 617

Consumers Win in ALP Energy Package

Monday, 1 April: Solar Citizens today applauds elements of Federal Labor’s Climate Change Action Plan, although says greater renewable ambition will benefit all Australians.

“There are some really positive policy commitments that will benefit consumers in this package,” said Joseph Scales, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

“Providing rebates for 100,000 households to get battery storage is a smart policy that will help households get their power bills down close to zero, while also helping secure the grid.

“A target of 50% new electric vehicle sales by 2030 will give this industry a boost and make it more achievable for households to charge their cars pollution-free straight from renewables.

“And the establishment of a Neighbourhood Renewables Program is another great initiative to help all Australian households access clean and affordable renewable energy. This is an important step that will help make our broken electricity system fair for all consumers.”

While Labor’s target of 50% renewable energy by 2030 will assist the renewables boom to continue to boost jobs and investment following the end of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) in 2020, more ambition would better position Australia as a global leader and renewable superpower.

“A further $10 billion in funding for the CEFC, with a focus on expanding Australia’s hydrogen industry, will set Australia up to export our extensive renewable resources to neighbouring countries,” said Mr Scales.

“But Federal Labor could aim higher so Australia is on the front foot and gets a bigger slice of the clean energy jobs and investment pie.

“Just last year, our Renewable Energy Across Queensland’s Regions report found that if all the renewable projects in the planning and construction pipeline went ahead, Queensland could be powered by 90% clean energy.

“There’s an appetite in the renewable energy industry – and the community. We can absolutely go further.”

This federal election, Solar Citizens is calling on all sides of politics to keep the renewables boom going in the next term of government by committing to:

  1. Mandate solar on all new homes;

  2. A 5GW renewable storage target by 2025, including a rebate for 100,000 households to install batteries;

  3. Solar for 500,000 renters.

ENDS

Media contact: Stephanie 0425543006