While there is much excitement about Renewable Energy Zones across Australia allowing a raft of new renewable projects to come online thanks to additional infrastructure, the Queensland government has already been criticised for the “measly” 3.3 GW ambition set out in its Technical Discussion Paper, with community group Solar Citizens noting such a scale is “dwarfed” by New South Wales’ and Victoria’s plans.
“Victoria has a 10,000 MW target while New South Wales is aiming to bring online 12,000 MW of new renewable energy projects and 2,000 MW of storage by 2030. Queensland’s plan to unlock 3,300 MW looks measly in comparison,” Stephanie Gray, Energy Strategist at Solar Citizens, said.
The majority of the new capacity, 2 GW, will go to the Southern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (QREZ), which includes Brisbane. The Central QREZ, which includes prospective hydrogen hubs Gladstone and Bundaberg, has been allocated just 800 MW of new capacity, while the Northern QREZ, which includes Townsville, will see an 500 MW upgrade to transmission infrastructure coming in at $40 million.
The Queensland government has said the 3.3 GW allocation simply marks the first stages of its QREZ development. Solar Citizen’s has called on the state to ensure “at least” 2 GW of new renewable energy generation is added to each of the three QREZs by 2025, almost doubling the current plan. The community group fears without matching the vision of other states, Queensland risks investors taking their projects and funding elsewhere.
Queensland’s state government has set a target of reaching 50% renewable energy generation by 2030. It is now calling on stakeholders, including industry and community, to offer feedback on its QREZ model over the next two months.
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