Rewind six months and large-scale clean energy projects were going gangbusters across Queensland. In November 2018, construction activity peaked and close to 3,000 Queenslanders were employed building new projects, plus many more jobs were created indirectly and in the supply chain.
Communities across Queensland have already experienced the job and investment benefits of the clean energy revolution, particularly in the regions. But the brakes have been slammed on Queensland’s thriving renewable energy industry. Thousands of jobs are at stake because members of the Federal Government are refusing to work with the industry to implement a national energy policy that will keep the projects coming.
Up until the middle of 2019, the national Renewable Energy Target (RET) provided certainty for the renewable energy industry and encouraged investment in Queensland.
But now that the RET has come to an end, there is no energy policy in place to keep driving investment confidence and this has resulted in less than 20MW of renewable generation capacity reaching financial close in 2019, compared with 1419MW in 2017.
Source: Green Energy Markets.
This means that without new policy intervention, the 3,000 construction jobs and associated economic activity across regional Queensland will disappear completely by April 2020. The renewable sector is currently the largest contributor to construction growth in Australia, and without it, experts warn our economy would be going backwards.
Source: Green Energy Markets estimates based on renewable energy job creation factors per megawatt of capacity as detailed in our Renewable Energy Index. Construction jobs are distributed equally across the months of each project’s respective construction period.
But it’s not too late to turn this around. Queensland’s world-class renewable energy assets 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. In fact, if all the large-scale clean energy projects in Queensland’s planning and construction pipeline go ahead it will mean 34,000 construction jobs and 1,500 ongoing jobs for our state.
That’s why it’s time for the Queensland Government to step up and take matters into their own hands. Despite the fact that construction activity will soon come to a standstill, Queensland has a massive potential pipeline of 15,000MW of projects that already have planning approvals or are currently seeking approval.
The State Government could act to protect and improve the renewable energy jobs pipeline, and help prevent construction activity and jobs in the renewables sector from collapsing by:
- Accelerating delivery of the Queensland’s Renewables 400 program and bringing forward achievement of CleanCo’s 1000 MW target to 2020 (current target date is 2025).
- Committing to support the construction of 2GW per year through to 2025 of new renewable energy generation capacity. This would deliver certainty and investment to regional Queensland.
Delivering these commitments will create new construction, electrical and manufacturing jobs in regional Queensland, lower power prices and help clean up our energy supply. Let’s get on with it – Queenslanders want to upgrade our failing energy system by making the most of our renewable energy resources.