Media - Solar Citizens

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Renewables Plan Backed by Concerned Youth

22 October 2020: Renewables Plan Backed by Concerned Youth

This morning a collection of community groups and concerned Townsville youth came together to call on all sides of politics to back more renewable energy in the lead up to the state election, following new report findings that the energy transition would create thousands of jobs in the Townsville region.

The report, commissioned by Queensland Conservation Council from Green Energy Markets, found that around 1,400 ongoing jobs in Townsville and nearly 11,000 ongoing jobs across Queensland will be created if the Sunshine State moves to 100% renewable energy. 

If the transition progresses rapidly, 1,100 construction jobs would be maintained every year for ten years building solar, wind and storage projects in the Townsville region.

“The transition is already well underway because solar and wind energy backed by storage is the cheapest form of new-build energy generation and Queensland households are turning to solar in droves to cash in on the solar savings,” said Simon from North Queensland Conservation Council.

“The energy transition is a win-win for Townsville. It means cleaner air, a big boost to the economy and energy generated locally instead of coming up from the south.”

The report found it’s possible to make the transition to clean energy reliably with technologies that exist today, such as pumped hydro, battery storage, bioenergy, solar thermal and renewable hydrogen.

Volunteers from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) are backing the plan for more clean energy jobs and a safe climate future for Townsville’s youth. 

“Townsville needs more good job opportunities for young people. This report shows how we can unlock those opportunities while creating a clean future for all of us,” said Matthew Garbutt from AYCC.

“Many of my friends have moved down south for work, but we can power more local jobs by utilising North Queensland’s incredible solar and wind resources.”

“We want our leaders to put the future of young people before fossil fuels by investing in more publicly-owned clean energy projects.”

Households and businesses across Queensland are continuing to turn to solar as a quick and easy way to reduce their electricity costs, with around 3,000MW already installed across the state. If current trends continue, the experts expect 8,000MW of rooftop solar will be operating in Queensland by 2040, which is almost  three times the capacity of Australia’s largest coal-fired generator. 

According to the groups, an abundance of cheap solar and wind energy will create further ongoing job opportunities in renewable manufacturing.

“Already there’s a battery storage manufacturing plant proposed for Townsville that would create 1,150 ongoing jobs. But this project could just be the tip of the iceberg,” said Stephanie Gray from Solar Citizens.

“There’s an emerging global market for minerals made with renewable energy and up here we have all the ingredients to kick-start these new clean energy industries.

“We should be using our abundant solar and wind to power tens of thousands of jobs in ‘green steel’ and renewable hydrogen.”

“It’s time for our politicians to put a plan in place to phase-out old, dirty energy and make the essential transition over to renewable energy,” says Claire Fryer, Campaigner at Queensland Conservation Council.

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Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425543006

Solar Recycling Pledge Welcomed

19 October 2020: Solar Recycling Pledge Welcomed

News that the Queensland LNP will open a solar panel recycling facility in South East Queensland was today welcomed by community group Solar Citizens.

“Solar systems across Queensland are providing households with much-needed bill savings while creating cleaner energy, and it’s great to see the LNP planning ahead so this industry can continue to thrive,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director.

“We absolutely need to have a robust recycling industry for when solar and storage reach the end of their lives so that clean technology has as little environmental impact as possible.

“Already Aussie researchers are looking at innovative ways to recycle solar panels, so it’s a smart move to kick-start this industry and capitalise on our clean energy expertise.”

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Media contact:
Ellen Roberts 0408583694

Hospitals to win with solar savings

Solar Citizens has today welcomed the announcement from the Queensland government that they will fit Queensland hospitals with solar power - which will cut power bills and bring down emissions.

‘Hospitals are big energy users, running medical equipment and providing a cool and clean environment for people who need it most. Solar and batteries will also provide much needed back up power to hospitals during outages.This announcement to fit hospitals with solar is a no-brainer,’ said Solar Citizens National Director Ellen Roberts.

‘We’d like to see solar on all public buildings in Queensland. It will bring down energy costs, and income generated from selling power from the panels can go towards funding schools and hospitals,’ said Ms Roberts.

For comment call Ellen Roberts on 0408 583 694  

Labor's plans for transmission upgrades welcomed


Solar Citizens has today welcomed Labor’s plans for upgrading Australia’s transmissions system to enable clean renewable energy like wind and solar.

‘Australia is well overdue for a government with a commitment to planning for the energy transition. A lack of transmission infrastructure is stifling investment in new renewable energy and preventing Australia from capitalising on its world class wind and solar’, said National Director Ellen Roberts

‘Our cheap clean power could be powering a new generation of manufacturing jobs. The lack of a coherent climate and energy policy from the current government is ruining Australia’s chances of becoming a global clean energy leader.’

'Renewable energy isn’t just about future jobs - it's keeping Australians in work now as we recover from the covid-19 economic crisis. In Queensland, Copperstring 2.0 a transmission line running from Mt Isa to Townsville will assist existing industries like the Mt Isa smelter to stay open by giving them access to cheap renewable energy.’

‘We also need to be planning for upgrades to the distribution network, for the grid at the household level, to make sure we’re enabling Australians to get rooftop solar and manage their own energy bills,’ said Ms Roberts

For comment call Ellen Roberts on 0408 583 694

Copperstring Deal Will Provide Cheap Energy Boost

7 October 2020: Copperstring Deal Will Provide Cheap Energy Boost

Solar Citizens has today welcomed the State Government’s commitment to seeing the building of Copperstring 2.0 – which will enable clean renewable energy to power new and existing industries in North Queensland.

"This important infrastructure project will allow new renewable energy projects to connect to the grid from Townsville to Mt Isa, unlocking abundant local and cheap energy for the region," said Solar Citizens' National Director Ellen Roberts.

"At the moment industries in the north are hamstrung by high electricity prices, particularly in Mt Isa where they rely on expensive gas generation. 

"Copperstring will enable an influx of cheap renewables, which will benefit existing industries in Mt Isa and the North West Minerals Province and pave the way for new industries.

"North Queensland urgently needs new transmission infrastructure to access our incredible wind and solar resources, and this project is a key component.

"Last night at the Townsville Bulletin candidate’s debate for the seat of Townsville both the Katter party candidate and MP for Townsville Scott Stewart confirmed their support for Copperstring 2.0, and the affordable energy it will bring to the region. It’s time for the LNP to make a similar commitment to bringing clean, affordable energy to North Queensland."

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Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694

ARENA Funding Announcement a Mixed Bag

Solar Citizens today welcomes the Federal Government's announcement for $1.4 billion over 10 years for ARENA, but condemns the mandate change that will allow the agency to fund fossil fuels.

"We welcome Morrison’s announcement of significant additional funding for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. However allowing ARENA to invest in carbon capture and storage is a waste of public funds and will undermine ARENA’s mission," said Solar Citizens' National Director, Ellen Roberts. 

"There is urgent and important work to do in adapting Australia’s energy grid to ensure we can rapidly transition to 100% clean energy, and ARENA is the agency that can lead on this work."

"Billions of dollars have been poured into carbon capture and storage research to placate the fossil fuel industry and the results have been dismal. It’s time to move on from this failed project and focus on bringing down energy prices and emissions - only possible with clean renewable energy."

"Today’s announcement to allow ARENA to invest in fossil fuel technologies fits with Morrison’s commitment to locking Australia into expensive, polluting gas. However, Australia's manufacturing industry is best served by investment in a transition to the cheapest forms of fuel: wind and solar."

Ellen Roberts can be contacted on 0408 583 694.

Morrison's gas fired power bad for energy prices

Ellen Roberts, National Director of Solar Citizens said, 'Scott Morrison’s pledge of public money for gas fired power for the Hunter Valley will lock the region in to higher power prices.'

'Towns currently dependent on gas generation, like Mount Isa in Western Queensland are now turning to cheap renewable energy to power existing heavy industry. Solar, wind and storage are much cheaper than expensive polluting gas.'

'By pushing gas fired power, Morrison is locking in high power prices for the Hunter Valley - the last thing the region needs.'

'Energy Minister Angus Taylor is trying to pass legislation through Parliament that would force the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to hand out taxpayers funds to dirty polluting gas, even where those projects lose money. '

'It's time to stop this madness and invest in the clean energy future that Australians want,' said Ms Roberts.
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For comment call Ellen Roberts on 0408 583 694

12,000 Queensland jobs at risk if LNP ditches QRET

8 September 2020: 12,000 Queensland jobs at risk if LNP ditches QRET

A new report by community group Solar Citizens has found that the Queensland LNP’s policy position to ditch the state’s 50% renewable energy by 2030 target could delay close to 12,300 renewable construction jobs as well as 750 ongoing jobs. 

It is the current party position that the Queensland Liberal National Party will not keep the State’s Renewable Energy Target if they are elected in the October Queensland election. 

“If the Queensland LNP follow through with their plans to ditch the QRET it will be a win for big, polluting energy companies and a loss for regional employment,” said Solar Citizens’ Queensland Campaigner, Stephanie Gray.

“Renewables are the energy trifecta for Queenslanders: they lower power bills, drive down pollution and create local employment in the regions.

“Cheap, clean energy could be Queensland’s competitive advantage and attract new job-rich manufacturing industries to our shores. It’s disappointing that the LNP will drag us backwards instead of future-proofing our economy.”

Modelling from the Australian Energy Market Operator shows that without a Renewable Energy Target, Queensland could have 1,950MW less wind and 2,950MW less large-scale solar by 2030. The modelling suggests that this will delay the country’s transition and specifically delay renewable jobs around Central Queensland and the Darling Downs.

“The clean energy that we’ll lose if they scrap the target would be enough to power roughly 1.5 million Queensland homes,” said Ms Gray. 

“Queenslanders are quiet clean energy achievers. We’ve got small businesses manufacturing battery storage and developing cutting-edge clean technology here in Brisbane, and more than 700,000 solar homes and businesses across the state.

“The Queensland LNP should be supporting more local clean energy jobs and innovation. Not pandering to big fossil fuel companies.”

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Contact: Stephanie 0425543006
Full analysis here.

Solar Citizens Welcomes $500m for Publicly Owned Clean Energy in Queensland

Solar Citizens has today welcomed the announcement by the Queensland Government to support the building of publicly owned renewable energy generation through a $500 million Renewable Energy Fund.

"This is great news – it will mean thousands of regional jobs, and lower power prices for all Queenslanders," said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens' National Director. 

"Queenslanders want to see electricity assets stay in public hands. If our electricity assets stay in public hands it means that all profits can be used for schools, hospitals and addressing climate change. It's great to see wind and solar funding schools and hospitals for Queenslanders.

"The Renewable Energy Fund will help Queensland power the next generation of manufacturing with clean, cheap renewable energy. 

"We can be making batteries and electric buses and green steel right here in Queensland if we invest in clean energy generation." 
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For comment call Ellen Roberts on 0408 583 694

Clarke Creek Wind Farm Agreement Good for Jobs and Power Prices in Queensland

Solar Citizens has today welcomed an agreement between Goldwind and Stanwell Corporation for the supply of power from Goldwind’s Clarke Creek wind farm in the north of Rockhampton.

"It’s great to see Stanwell Corporation supporting the development of clean cheap energy in Queensland. The Clarke Creek wind farm will provide much-needed jobs and investment for both Rockhampton and Mackay, and will assist with driving down power prices for Queenslanders," said Solar Citizens' National Director, Ellen Roberts.

"Construction is due to begin on the Clarke Creek project next year, contributing to Queensland’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

"In addition to supporting private projects, Queensland’s government-owned generators, Stanwell and CS Energy are champing at the bit to be building and owning their own renewable energy."
Both Stanwell and CS Energy own coal-fired power stations in Queensland.

"It’s time for the State Government to allow them to build publicly-owned renewables, particularly as the latest data shows the Sunshine State is not on track to achieve it’s 50% by 2030 renewable energy target," said Ms Roberts.
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For comment please call Ellen Roberts on 0408 583 694