“Queensland is well positioned to be a superpower in the renewable industries of the future,” he said.
“But other states are investing heavily in clean energy, so it’s a competitive field.
“South Australia has a 100 per cent clean energy target, while Tasmania is aiming for 200 per cent, with plans to export renewable power to the mainland.
“Queensland faces significant competition for private sector investment.”
The report, Renewable Energy and Jobs in Queensland, finds Queensland could deliver construction jobs for 5200 workers over a 15-year pipeline of renewable energy projects.
“Queensland could deliver 78,000 job-years of employment if this was delivered as part of a 15-year program to achieve self-sufficiency in renewables,” the report finds.
It says Queensland has potential in developing export markets in renewable energy, most notably in hydrogen and in “green steel”.
Green steel is made by using hydrogen, rather than coal, to strip the oxygen out of iron ore.
The byproduct is water rather than carbon dioxide, according to Grattan Institute research fellow Tony Wood in the Australian Financial Review in May 2020.
Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said he could not comment on a report he had not seen.
“However, Queensland has an economic strategy for post-COVID-19 recovery, and supporting jobs in emerging industries like renewable energy is integral to that plan,” Dr Lynham said.
“Renewables have grown under this government from next to nothing to a projected 20 per cent by the end of this year,” he said.
Since 2015, 39 large-scale renewable energy projects have either started operating or been financially committed, creating 5700 construction jobs, Dr Lynham said.
How much Queensland energy is produced from renewable energy sources
2005 – 3.2 per cent.
2010 – 3.9 per cent.
2015 – 7.2 per cent.
2020 – 20.3 per cent.
2025 – 35.5 per cent (predicted)
2030 – 38 per cent (predicted)
Government policy target is 50 per cent by renewable energy by 2030.
Source: Green Energy Markets Australia. Renewable Energy and jobs in Queensland August 2020
Between 2000 and 2010, renewables made up less than 4 per cent of Queenslanders’ power consumption. Now, in 2020, renewables account for more than 20 per cent of power consumption.
The Australian Conservation Foundation-Green Energy Markets report predicts Queensland will generate more than 38 per cent by renewable energy by 2030.
“At present the Queensland government has a goal for the state to get 50 per cent of its power from renewable energy by 2030,” Green Energy Markets renewable energy economist Tristan Edis said.
“Yet policies announced to date will only get the state to a bit under 38 per cent by 2030.
“Even if further policies are enacted to achieve the 50 per cent target, it will only just scratch the surface of Queensland’s potential.”
Green Energy Markets says Queensland has strong potential if it proceeds with its projected renewable energy projects, but needs more projects to reach the 50 per cent target.
“To achieve 50 per cent would require about 3000 megawatts of new wind and solar projects, which would deliver around 8000 job-years of construction employment,” the report says.
The research predicts the industrial port of Gladstone, the main export centre for Queensland’s liquid natural gas, as the future renewable energy hub.
However, in the shorter time frame the report sees newly emerging wind and solar projects on the Darling Downs as biggest growth prospects for the next five years.
“Much of the growth expected in the next five years will be driven by two very large projects – the MacIntyre wind farm near Warwick and the Western Downs solar farm near Chinchilla – and by more households and businesses adding solar systems to their rooftops.”
Tony Moore is a senior reporter at the Brisbane Times