Regional Queensland Power Bills to Rise as Fossil Fuel Prices Bite
31 May 2022: Regional Queensland Power Bills to Rise as Fossil Fuel Prices Bite
Residential power prices in regional Queensland will rise on average by 9.2 per cent from July 1st following the Queensland Competition Authority’s release of regulated electricity prices. Small businesses will face a 10.2 per cent increase while large energy consumers will face a staggering 15.7 - 21.2 per cent hike.
“The hike in household power bills is the result of skyrocketing coal and gas prices driving up the wholesale price of electricity. This increase has been the most pronounced in coal-dependent states like Queensland where retailers are facing a 49.5 per cent increase in wholesale costs,” said Stephanie Gray, Deputy Director at Solar Citizens.
“Queensland wholesale prices are also through the roof because breakdowns at coal and gas units mean we’ve had unexpected shortfalls during times of high demand.
“To the State Government’s credit they have announced a $175 Cost of Living Rebate for Queenslanders’ next power bill but this is a short-term solution to a long-term issue.
“While states like Tasmania are now effectively 100 per cent renewable, Queensland only gets 20 per cent of our electricity from cheap renewable sources. Queensland's reliance on coal and gas is driving up the cost of living and making it harder for businesses to stay competitive.
“Right now the Queensland Government is developing a 10-Year Energy Plan to map out the future of the State’s electricity system. We’d like to see them take action on the rising cost of living by scaling up the rollout of cheap renewable energy while phasing out state-owned coal stations.
“Queenslanders are world leaders in the uptake of rooftop solar. It’s households and small businesses that have led our energy transformation so far because solar energy straight from the rooftop is the cheapest form of electricity.
“Now it’s time for the Queensland Government to do their part by delivering a plan mapping our pathway to a clean energy powered grid. Queenslanders can’t afford to be paying for expensive fossil fuels when the other states have got on with the transition.
“There’s also much more the State Government can do to help renters and people living in social housing have access to cheap solar energy. Rolling out a Virtual Power Plant on Queensland’s social housing, like they’ve done in South Australia, is an obvious first step to help vulnerable households.”
Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425543006
Skyrocketing Fossil Fuels Price to Hit Household Power Bills
26 May 2022: Skyrocketing Fossil Fuels Price to Hit Household Power Bills
The Default Market Offer for retail electricity prices has today been announced for Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, setting up substantial price hikes across the country.
“Aussie households are set to be hundreds of dollars worse off because of skyrocketing coal and gas prices,” said Heidi Lee Douglas, National Director at Solar Citizens.
“The hike in household power bills is the result of a massive increase in the wholesale price of electricity. This increase has been the most pronounced in coal-dependent states like Queensland and New South Wales.
“These power price rises come as households are also battling record prices at the fuel pump because of the spiralling cost of oil. Now more than ever we need to be providing Australian families and businesses with affordable clean technology options so they can keep cost of living expenses under control.
“There are millions of Australian homes with rooftop solar across the country and these households know firsthand that solar energy straight from the rooftop is as cheap as electricity gets. Coupling rooftop solar with an electric vehicle means households can save thousands each year.
“There’s a big role for both state and federal governments to play in rolling out more renewable energy to move Australia away from being dependent on expensive fossil fuels, while helping to make electric transport more affordable and accessible.”
Media Contact: Heidi Lee Douglas 0401 092 570
Voters Choose Action in the Climate Election
23 May 2022: Voters Choose Action in the Climate Election
The federal election result shows that the climate narrative has shifted and Australians want real action on climate and clean energy, says community group Solar Citizens.
“Australians have cast their vote for a cleaner future. They’ve thrown their support behind Labor’s commitments to increase the country’s 2030 emissions reduction target, hasten the transition to clean and cheap renewable energy, and make electric transport more affordable,” said Solar Citizens’ Deputy Director, Stephanie Gray.
“Australians are fed up with inaction. They want a Federal Government that will deliver cheap renewables and electric transport to tackle rising emissions and cost of living.
“People are sick of the dead-end climate wars and tired soundbites about needing coal and gas, or electric vehicles ending the weekend. The reality for everyday Australians is that clinging to fossil fuels equals skyrocketing power and petrol prices.
“For years a handful of politicians have tried to derail Australia’s efforts to cut pollution. Saturday’s results show they are now completely out of touch with the electorate where climate was one of the top issues for voters.
“Aussie households have seen for themselves that having solar panels on your roof or an electric car in your garage can save you money while helping to do your bit for the environment. Communities from the inner cities to the regions are already seeing the benefits of cheap clean energy that can power new industries and deliver future-proof jobs.
“Australians have demanded change this election, and we’ve seen a huge shift in how people talk about and vote on climate and clean technology, like renewables and EVs.”
2,400 Solar Citizens members mobilised for clean energy and transport during the election campaign. Volunteers delivered 70,000 energy and transport scorecards to letterboxes across the country, emailed their candidates, turned out to events supporting electric vehicles, volunteered at roadside actions and markets, and signed petitions.
Now it’s up to the new Labor Government, whether that be in majority or otherwise, to deliver a future powered by cheap renewable energy and affordable clean transport.
Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425 543 006
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
Clare Silcock 0481 055 531
Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694