Queensland warned it will fall short of 50 per cent renewable target
Green energy groups have cast doubt the Queensland government can meet its commitment to provide 50 per cent of the state’s energy from renewable energy sources in 10 years’ time.
However, they are confident it will be able to provide more than one-third of Queensland’s energy needs by 2030.
Green Energy Markets renewable energy economist Tristan Edis said there had been tremendous growth in renewable energy in Queensland in the past six years, but the state would not reach the 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.
“Green Energy Markets have been tracking renewable energy projects activity in Queensland and there is still some way to go,” he said.
“While substantial progress has been made and the state is on progress to have more than one-third of its energy provided by renewable by 2030, there is still a substantial gap to get to 50 per cent by 2030.”
Earlier this year, Green Energy Markets pointed to a decline in larger-scale green energy investment in Queensland, outside of the residential solar roof investment by families.
Mr Edis said relatively low prices in Queensland’s electricity market were influenced by large coal-fired generators now accepting negative prices in the middle of the day for producing coal, when solar was cheaper.
Coal plants took longer to slow down and build up capacity for more profitable night-time energy production, so the plant owners were prepared to pay, in effect, to provide electricity during the day.
The debate began as the Queensland government-owned CS Energy took steps to increase the renewable energy mix of its energy supply.
CS Energy recently agreed to buy green energy from the University of Queensland’s new solar farm at Warwick.
It operates the Callide black coal-generated power station near Biloela and the Kogan Creek Power station near Chinchilla.
The Queensland government said buying the electricity from the new solar energy contract would save “about $71 million of taxpayer funds over 10 years”.
The state government will increase its share of renewable energy over time to 25 per cent as relevant developments come online, with the potential to increase renewable energy producton to 50 per cent by 2028.
The state government’s renewable energy company CleanCo is now building a 100-megawatt wind farm near Warwick.
“The wind farm at Warwick is part of the larger MacIntyre Wind Precinct that will create 400 jobs,” Queensland Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said.
When it is complete the MacIntyre wind farm proposal could generate about 1025 megawatts from 180 wind turbines on sheep farms near Warwick.
“We are forecast to reach 20 per cent renewable generation this year and we are on target to reach 50 per cent by 2030,” Dr Lynham said.
The Warwick solar farm generates about 160,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy every year.
CS Energy also has agreements to take power generated from the Kennedy Energy Park near Hughenden in north Queensland.
The $160 million Kennedy Energy Park is a combined wind and solar energy plant, which finished construction in late 2019, but is not yet online at full production.
It will generate 43 megawatts of energy from wind and 15 megawatts from solar, supported by a two-megawatt storage capacity.
The long-term plan is for 1200 megawatts of renewable energy to be generated in north Queensland, some of it stored at the Kennedy Energy Park, to power the equivalent of 800,000 homes, its website says.
“It is initiatives like this that will help drive investment and reinforces the Palaszczuk government’s commitment to renewable energy,” Dr Lynham said.