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Queensland aims to phase out coal

Thursday, September 29th, 2022

The Queensland Government has announced a clean energy future for the state, including an end to coal-fired stations by 2035.
Image credit: Bruce Peebles. Copyright the state of Queensland.

The Queensland Government has announced a clean energy future for the state, including an end to coal-fired stations by 2035.

A new dam in the Pioneer Valley near Mackay will supply half of Queensland’s entire energy needs with clean, reliable and affordable renewable energy.

It is just one part of a $62 billion Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan that includes:

  • 70 per cent of Queensland’s energy supply from renewables by 2032 and 80 per cent by 2035
  • Publicly-owned coal fired-power stations to convert to clean energy hubs to transition to, for example, hydrogen power, with job guarantees for workers
  • Queensland’s publicly-owned coal-fired power stations to stop reliance on burning coal by 2035
  • Two new pumped hydros at Pioneer/Burdekin and Borumba Dam by 2035
  • A new Queensland SuperGrid connecting solar, wind, battery and hydrogen generators across the State

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the release of the energy plan, but warned the Government has work to do to attract the large-scale investment required to implement it.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the resources sector supports the transition to a lower emissions future, but that detailed planning was required to ensure stability for regional communities, investors and energy supply and the cost of electricity.

“The energy plan’s ambitious centrepiece, a transition to 70 per cent renewable energy by 2032, will require detailed planning and extensive industry and community consultation over many years,” he said.

He said the make-up of the electricity market in Queensland was about:

  •  71 per cent from coal
  •  25 per cent from solar
  •  3 per cent from gas
  •  1 per cent from wind

“This underlines the opportunities to diversify Queensland’s energy mix, but also the immense size of the challenge,” he said.

“Queensland will need large scale investment to meet this target, but at the moment Queensland is cementing a reputation as a higher risk jurisdiction where the rules of engagement can change suddenly without warning.

“The biggest signal the Government has sent to resources and energy investors in 2022 is to hike coal royalty taxes to the highest in the world, without consultation.

“International investors are sounding a note of caution that Queensland is no longer the trusted place for project partnerships that it once was.

“Queensland has Australia’s youngest and most modern coal-fired power station fleet. It is a significant advantage for supporting manufacturing and other types of industry during detailed planning to diversify the energy mix and ensure stability as intermittent energy sources like solar and wind are further integrated into the grid.

“Volatility in global energy markets and power prices shows what is a stake if the transition to lower emissions energy sources is rushed or poorly planned.”

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