Queensland’s current renewable energy target is to meet half of the state’s domestic energy needs with renewables by 2030 but reports have emerged that despite having achieved less than half of its current objective, the government is considering setting a higher target.
The state’s existing target to reduce emissions by 50% by the end of the decade was set back in 2015 but electricity generation in Queensland continues to be dominated by coal.
Government data shows that in the 12 months to December 2021, renewables delivered just 20.4% of the state’s electricity generation. That share is about two-thirds of Australia’s average of 28% and is the lowest among Australian states and territories.
Despite that performance, News Corp publications have reported the government is now looking to create a more ambitious renewables goal as part of a 10-year energy strategy due for release within weeks.
The state government has issued no statement relating to the reports but has said the energy plan will help inform investors, communicate its overall vision for the transition to renewable energy and outline how the government will achieve its renewable energy target.
Queensland-based solar energy lobbyists Solar Citizens on Thursday welcomed the potential change to the renewables target, saying the state needs to go further and faster.
“At the moment Queensland is only getting about 20% of our energy from renewables, while other states are rushing ahead, like Tasmania that operates on almost 100% renewables and South Australia running at 66%,” Solar Citizens deputy director Stephanie Gray said.
“We really encourage the Queensland government to go beyond their 50% by 2030 renewable energy target to keep up to speed with the rest of the country and maximise opportunities in new clean export markets.”
Gray pointed to a recent report published by Accenture, saying it found Queensland could easily meet the existing 50% renewable energy target five years ahead of schedule. The report, commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation, Queensland Conservation Council and WWF-Australia, also concluded the state could reduce emissions by 60% below 2005 levels by 2030, and create more than 87,000 jobs through a package of policies focused on making the most of Queensland’s “abundance of clean energy sources”.
To achieve those targets, the report calls for the rapid rollout of an additional 25 GW of renewables by 2030, the deployment of 5 GW of both short and long-term duration storage and the gradual phasing out of coal power.
It also calls for the acceleration of rooftop solar and residential battery installations as well as electrification of gas connections. The report urges the government to fast track the development of a clean exports industry, to underwrite 6 GW of green hydrogen and establish a battery manufacturing fund.
The report suggests that if implement, the policies could support a workforce of ~87,000 people, including ~31,000 direct jobs in sustainable industries.
“Queensland’s current policies now cover many of the critical elements of a climate strategy, such as renewable energy and transport, and efforts have accelerated since 2017, but progress could be faster,” the report reads.
“Queensland has an opportunity to become a clean energy powerhouse,” the report reads, adding the state’s current policies cover many of the critical elements of a climate strategy, and efforts have accelerated since 2017, “but progress could be faster”.
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