The Queensland Labor government has pledged to help the Sunshine State live up to its name, by boosting development of large-scale solar projects and encouraging the uptake of rooftop solar.
Speaking at a budget estimates hearing on Friday, Queensland energy minister Mark Bailey said his government was determined to grow both the small and large-scale renewable energy sectors, and jobs along with them, using investment and new policy measures, including reverse auctions like those used, to great success, by the ACT government.
“The (Palaszczuk) government supports absolutely establishing a Queensland-based large-scale renewable energy industry,” Bailey told the hearing.
“We are working with renewable energy agencies to deliver a reverse auction for at least 40MW of renewable energy,” he said, adding that regional, government-owned Queensland utility, Ergon, had made an expression of interest for 150MW of state-based renewables capacity.
“The benefit of this,” Bailey noted, “is not only a transformation to clean energy but also the establishment of the skill base, a workforce, investment and, importantly, jobs in Queensland.
“We have to grow jobs in Queensland in the emerging industries, and certainly renewable energy is one of the big emerging industries, and we are keen to be part of that.”
On this subject, Bailey pointed to South Australia, which is now sourcing 40 per cent of its power from renewable energy sources, as a prime example of what could be achieved.
“They have attracted $5.5 billion worth of investment. That has created a lot of jobs and yet here in Queensland we have gone backwards for the last three years,” he said.
The state has also committed to a small-scale target of one million solar rooftops by 2020, with Bailey noting the “great opportunities” provided by the continually improving economics of battery technology.
“The demand for solar is very resilient and it is a maturing market. For us it is about facilitation, it is about getting blockages out of the way in terms of the industry,” he said.
© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd