2020 Queensland policy asks - Solar Citizens

2020 Queensland policy asks

It's time for Queensland to embrace renewable energy innovation, fast-tracking development of new export and manufacturing industries that will boost regional economies. Already, we’ve seen large-scale projects create thousands of construction jobs and direct millions worth of investment to Queensland’s regions.

But federal energy policy uncertainty and grid restraints have caused investment in large-scale projects to fall of a cliff. The Queensland Government need to act fast and implement policies to maintain a thriving renewable energy industry, so the jobs keep coming.

Our analysis is that to maintain a booming industry, which in 2018 saw 3,000 workers employed building new projects, State Government policy should facilitate the construction of 1-2GW of new renewable generation every year.

Below we have outlined policy directions that we believe the Queensland Government and Opposition should be pursuing: 

  • Announcing at least three Renewable Energy Zones, and fast-tracking the delivery of transmission infrastructure as outlined in the latest draft of the Integrated System Plan. We believe that the NSW government approach, of underwriting investment until AER gives the go-ahead for cost recovery makes sense.

  • Delivering reverse auctions to provide price certainty for new renewable energy projects. This is the policy option that has seen large-scale renewables grow rapidly in Victoria, and crucially has driven local renewable manufacturing. The government provides a price guarantee for developers of new renewable energy generation, and in return requires local procurement. 

  • Developing clear goals and a road map for the energy transition, to give the most certainty to consumers and industry. Planning is necessary to ensure the best decisions are made in the interest of consumers. For example, transmission can take up to eight years to build and additional renewable infrastructure is needed for Queensland that should be in the planning pipeline now.

  • Supporting low-income households and renters to access solar and storage; this could look like 
    • South Australia’s Virtual Power Plant scheme, a rebate scheme for household batteries, 
    • a split-incentive scheme for landlords and tenants to install solar on rental properties, 
    • community solar gardens, and community scale batteries. 
  • Funding state-owned generators to build, own and operate renewable energy and storage projects. 

  • Increasing dispatchable capacity via a grant scheme. The NSW LNP has an ‘Emerging Energy Program’ which provides grants for renewable dispatchable capacity.

  • Powering all Queensland Government operations with renewable energy. Select Councils across the country have signed power purchase agreements with renewable energy generators and the State Government should follow in their footsteps.

The renewable energy transition in Queensland relies on an increased uptake in rooftop solar  however there will need to be more investment in the grid to make sure that rooftop continues to grow. Solar Citizens is currently consulting on what are the best investments and policy settings to support the growth of rooftop solar.

Queensland’s world-class renewable energy resources are catching the attention of investors from all corners of the globe, and with the right policy settings, this could unlock more clean energy projects, and new homegrown manufacturing and export opportunities. Let's get on with it!