Queensland’s Renewable Hydrogen Potential a Jobs Bonanza
Turning Queensland into a renewable hydrogen superpower will create 30,000 solar and wind farm construction jobs and 1,800 ongoing jobs in renewable energy operations and maintenance by 2030, according to a new report from community group Solar Citizens.
The job figures come from an analysis of newly released Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) modelling showing the projected build-out of large-scale renewable projects if Australia becomes a significant exporter of hydrogen made with renewable energy.
A staggering 20,400 MW of new solar and wind farms are modelled to be built in Queensland’s Renewable Energy Zones by 2030 if Australia becomes a renewable hydrogen superpower. Currently there are approximately 4,500 MW large-scale renewable power plants operating or under construction across the State.
“Our analysis shows that tapping into the Sunshine State’s potential to become a renewable hydrogen powerhouse will create an additional 10,000 renewable construction jobs by 2030 compared to the trajectory we’re currently headed on,” said Stephanie Gray, Energy Strategist at Solar Citizens.
“But the jobs in renewable energy project construction and management are just the tip of the iceberg. If we tap into Queensland’s incredible solar and wind potential to create abundant cheap energy we’ll also be powering jobs in hydrogen production, minerals processing and manufacturing.”
This analysis comes as the Queensland government is developing their plans for three Renewable Energy Zones in Northern, Central and Southern Queensland. A Renewable Energy Zone is a location with good renewable energy resources that has been identified as a strategic location to build out grid infrastructure so new solar, wind and storage projects can connect to the grid.
“We recently commissioned polling showing 60 per cent of Queenslanders think the State’s grid should be powered entirely by renewable sources within the next 15 years, if not before,” said Ms Gray.
“But right now the Queensland government’s draft renewable plans fall well short of the clean energy ambition we’re seeing in New South Wales and Victoria. This is despite 62 per cent of Queenslanders agreeing the State’s Renewable Energy Zone plans should at least be in line with New South Wales’ and Victoria’s plans.
“Other States are racing to attract the investor attention for new renewable industries. Queensland will lose out if we don’t invest in enough renewable energy infrastructure.”
Queensland initially plans to unlock 3,300 MW of new transmission capacity in their REZs, while New South Wales has a goal of unlocking 12,000 MW of new renewable generation and 2,000 MW of storage by 2030, and Victoria is aiming for 10,000 MW.
Solar Citizens is calling for the Queensland government to ensure at least 2,000 MW of new renewable energy generation is added to each of Queensland’s three Renewable Energy Zone regions by 2025. An open letter supporting this recommendation has been signed by groups including the Australia Institute, Beyond Zero Emissions, and hydrogen proponent Edify Energy.
- Switching on Queensland's Hydrogen Potential report
- Open letter calling for greater REZ ambition from the Queensland government