Cheaper, cleaner, secure: Premier reveals 70 per cent renewables target for 2032

An ambitious renewable electricity target of 70 per cent by 2032 is likely to be the centrepiece of Queensland’s rebooted energy policy.

Sep 28, 2022, updated Sep 28, 2022
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at a wind farm in the South Burnett district  (AAP Image/Russell Freeman)

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at a wind farm in the South Burnett district (AAP Image/Russell Freeman)

The state had been aiming for 50 per cent by 2030 before Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the new goal on Wednesday.

“I wanted to tell you this huge news before launching our Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan at CEDA State of the State,” she posted on Facebook.

“It’s about cheaper, cleaner and secure energy for Queenslanders, powering good jobs in our regions.”

The government has been laying the groundwork for a major policy shift as ministers seek to focus attention on work in the renewable space.

When announcing plans for a the largest publicly-owned wind farm in Australia on Monday, Palaszczuk said renewable projects made up about 21 per cent of Queensland’s energy market.

Reaching 70 per cent in the next 10 years is doable, project manager at independent think tank Beyond Zero Emissions Dr Heidi Edmonds said.

“We have some of the world’s best solar and wind resources … so we have that energy ready to be tapped,” Edmonds told ABC radio Brisbane on Wednesday.

“We just need to get the poles and wires, we need to get the solar panels and the wind turbines in the right locations to maximise how that energy comes into our grid.”

Increasing storage options such as batteries and pumped-hydro projects will also be crucial as more renewable projects come on line.

Queensland has previously committed to building a series of large scale batteries, including a 400MWh project at Greenbank in the southeast.

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The most recent state budget included $35 million in funding for a feasibility study on a 5-7GW pumped hydropower storage project.

Another $13 million will be spent on finalising a study for a proposed 1GW pumped hydro project near Gympie.

Converting excess renewable electricity into hydrogen, rather than feeding it back into the grid, could be another option, the state’s Hydrogen Industry Strategy says.

“Once stored, hydrogen energy can be produced with very little initialisation time, making it possible to store renewable energy until demand increases,” it says.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles on Tuesday hinted that the plan would include details about how the industry-heavy state would meet its green energy targets.

“Queensland is home to many high-energy intensive industries, so we want to provide them with a pathway to clean, green, cheap, secure energy,” he said.

The government is remaining tight-lipped on whether or not the plan will include the early closure of coal-fired power stations or a more ambitious emissions reduction target.

It’s currently aiming for a reduction of 30 per cent below 2005 levels.

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