Queensland budget amps up renewables with $26 billion investment

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The Queensland government handed down it’s 2024-25 budget on 10 June, committing $26 billion (USD 17.16 billion) for publicly owned solar, energy storage, wind, and transmission infrastructure projects, through its Energy and Jobs Plan (QEJP).

The multi-billion dollar boost includes $16.5 billion for renewable energy and storage projects and $8.5 billion for transmission infrastructure, including CopperString 2032, SuperGrid and Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) transmission works.

Queensland Energy Minister Mick De Brenni said the state is acting to secure its clean energy future, and the thousands of jobs it seeks to create and protect.

“This Budget will ensure the Energy and Jobs Plan continues to evolve and ensure our transition from a fossil-fuel economy to one supported by clean energy, backing good jobs for regional Queenslanders, and ensuring a clean, safe and reliable energy transition,” he said.

The budget allocates $500 million for distributed network storage, including Energy Queensland’s Local Network Battery Plan and Local REZ Pilot Projects, plus $192 million for the state’s transmission network service provider Powerlink to develop the Transmission and Training Hubs in Townsville and Gladstone.

$8.5 billion is to be allocated by the Queensland 2024 state budget, to the build of Copperstring 2032.

Image: Powerlink

For FY2024/25, an $8.7 billion capital investment in renewable energy generation, storage and distribution infrastructure will initially be allocated.

This will include $452 million to publicly owned energy company CleanCo, including $275m to build, own and operate the 250MW / 500MWh Swanbank Battery, and $1.1 billion into electricity generator CS Energy, including $674 million to develop the 285 MW Lotus Creek Wind Farm and 228 MW Boulder Creek Wind Farm.

State-owned electricity company Energy Queensland is granted $2.6 billion, including $255 million to deliver the Local Network Battery Plan across Queensland, while Powerlink receives $1.8 billion, including $712 million into CopperString 2032, connecting Mount Isa and the North West to the National Electricity Market (NEM) and $109 million into SuperGrid Stage 1 projects.

Queensland Hydro receives $974 million, – including $936 million to continue progress on the 2GW / 48 GWh Borumba Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) Project, with $1 billion equity commitment across the forward estimates.

Electricity generator Stanwell, receives a $1.5 billion investment, including $424 million for the 437 MW Tarong West Wind Farm and $377 million for Stage 1 and 2 of the 506 MW Wambo Wind Farm.

Three publicly owned generators are together investing around $376 million for upgrades and maintenance at existing state-owned power stations, ensuring the continued reliability of supply to Queensland and the NEM.

Electricity rebates for consumers are also included in the budget, delivering $1,300 to every household in the state, and a further $1,672 for vulnerable Queenslanders to virtually zero-out their energy expense in 2024/25.

Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer Cameron Dick said the global energy transformation represents a golden opportunity for Queensland.

“We’re investing now for a cleaner, greener future and delivering the transformation of our energy system and our economy for a net zero future,” he said.

“Our investments in the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, as well as funding for transmission, batteries, hydrogen, and emerging low and no-carbon technologies demonstrate we are serious about acting on climate change.”

Queensland Premier Steven Miles said protecting regional jobs and acting on climate change is something he is passionate about, and why he’s taken steps to put Queensland’s transition to renewables at the forefront.

“The transition to renewables isn’t just about emissions reductions – it’s about creating more jobs in new industries and opening up opportunities for our state to thrive,” he said.

“We’ve established landmark emissions-reduction targets to cut our carbon output 75% by 2035 and importantly, we’re bringing our communities along for the journey, with a package of support, training and jobs within the Job Security Guarantee.”

Climate Energy Finance Net-Zero Transformation Analyst Matt Pollard said Queensland’s record investment into clean energy generation, storage and infrastructure is underpinned by a progressive coal royalty scheme.

“The scheme is forecast to deliver $20 billion over the current budget period, despite royalties expected to decline $6.2 billion as hard coking coal prices trend downward to medium-term averages,” he said.

As of February 2024, 27% of Queensland’s electricity was generated from renewable energy sources.

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