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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Queensland sets new renewables targets: 70% by 2032, 80% by 2035, coal reliance phaseout by 2035

“We are facing a climate emergency,” Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk said in her State of the State address at a CEDA function. She noted that Queensland is facing dramatic problems from rising sea levels in Torres Strait, record “rain bombs”, bushfires, and a total of 98 natural disasters in the last decade. “Climate change is real …. but we need to do more than talk about it. We need to act, and act in a revolutionary way,” she said.

The Premier launched a $60 billion Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan which will transform Queensland from a coal dependant state for energy to one powered by solar and wind renewables with pumped hydro energy storage, as well as grid batteries, and an upgrade to the transmission grid.

The plan encompasses:

  • At least 25 GW new and existing renewable energy
  • Gladstone grid reinforcement to support heavy industry to switch to renewable energy and decarbonise their operations
  • All publicly owned coal-fired power stations operating as clean energy hubs by 2035, supported by a legislated Job Security Guarantee for energy workers
  • Two new world-class pumped hydro projects that together could deliver up to 7 GW of long duration storage
  • Around 1500km of new high voltage backbone transmission to move more power around the state
  • Up to 3 GW of low to zero emissions gas generation for periods of peak demand and backup security
  • A smarter grid to support over 11 GW of rooftop solar and around 6 GW of batteries in homes and businesses

It should be noted Queensland is a major exporter of both thermal and metallurgical coal and this plan does not cover this coal production for the export market.

The transformation of the energy sector will entail  "64,000 jobs in clean energy infrastructure including new skilled direct jobs to build the SuperGrid in construction of transmission and renewable energy projects, jobs in manufacturing and ongoing operations, and indirect jobs in the services industry that supports the energy sector."

It is projected another "36,000 more jobs in green growth opportunities including direct and indirect jobs, than without a Plan, across key sectors like renewable hydrogen, battery manufacturing, resource mining and metal refining."

The transition to renewables is also projected to bring down wholesale energy costs and the cost of electricity for residents and businesses.

The state has earmarked two substantial Pumped Hydro projects for energy storage.

The biggest project will be a 5GW, 24 hour storage facility at Pioneer/Burdekin – around 70kms west of Mackay- that has been dubbed the “battery of the north”. The state also plans to build  the previously flagged 2GW, 24 hour pumped hydro project at Borumba Dam near Gympie.

Job Guarantee to ensure just transition for workers

Queensland's energy generation is mostly still government owned making the transformation easier. The Government will implement a new $150 million Job Security Guarantee. "This will support all workers in publicly owned coal-fired power stations and ensure no worker will be out of a job. The Guarantee will be backed by a fund and a new tripartite Energy Workers’ Charter between unions, government and employers. These workers will have guaranteed opportunities to continue their careers within publicly owned energy businesses or pursue other career pathways." 

As part of addressing just transition and job guarantee the government will support workers:

  • undertake additional training or skills development to secure opportunities in the future energy sector or emerging industries
  • transfer between publicly owned energy corporations to secure new, ongoing employment opportunities
  • extend their career, where eligible, to support Queensland’s safe, reliable, and secure energy system
  • seek advice on career options with dedicated future pathway managers within Queensland’s publicly owned energy businesses.

Queensland ahead of the big states for their 2030 renewable energy targets says Climate Council

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“Queensland has substantially raised its renewable energy target to 70 per cent by 2032, with a $62 billion investment in regional communities, good jobs and clean power for all Queenslanders. This is a big step forward for the Sunshine State,” Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the Climate Council, said. 

“This now puts Queensland ahead of the big states for their 2030 renewable energy targets. Queensland is now aiming for 60 per cent by 2030, compared to Victoria which has pledged 50 per cent by 2030 and no specific target for New South Wales."


Full speech by Premier and Minister for the Olympics, The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

We all know that we are in an unprecedented time. I understand, and you understand, that we are facing a climate emergency. We are facing a period that’s extraordinary in all of our lifetimes.

We are confronted with a world where, in just the past century, temperatures across the globe have increased by over 1 degrees Celsius – that is since the beginning of the industrial age. 

We are presented with a critical situation in which sea levels across the world are now rising at the fastest rate in over 2,500 years.

On one island in particular, homes are by necessity being put on stilts four metres above the ground.  Two seawalls have had to be constructed.

Additionally, another seawall is under construction and 3 more are under development to keep the ocean from washing entire communities away.

You may think that sounds like Tuvalu, or Vanuatu or a remote island in the Pacific Ocean.  In fact, this scenario is playing out – right now – in Queensland.

It is happening in the Torres Strait where 15 islands are vulnerable to rising sea levels and climate change.

Our Cabinet recently met on the Thursday Island and traditional owners and elders have shown me photos of ancestral graves on nearby islands are being washed away.

The homes of Queenslanders are being impacted right now. I acknowledge our Torres Strait Island and First Nations Peoples with us here today including Mayor Mosby and Aunty Rose Elu.

Along with rising sea levels, Queenslanders are witnessing record rain bombs and bushfires impacting our rainforests. 

Since 2011 Queensland has experienced 98 natural disasters. Think about that for a moment. Almost 100 natural disasters. In only a little more than a decade.

Climate change is real. Its impacts are real. Its effect on the future of Queensland now and into the future are real.

But we need to do more – much, much more – than understand the effects of climate change. We need to do much more than talk about it.

We need to act and we need to act in a revolutionary way.

Our action needs to be unprecedented, it needs to be sweeping. And we need to be more than innovative – we need to be world-leading.

Queenslanders themselves are doing their bit and taking action:

Over 700,000 homes and small businesses now have rooftop solar creating three coal power stations worth of power.  

The rate of recycling is up from 35 per cent seven years ago to over 55 per cent; and

More Queenslanders are taking up electric vehicles with over 10,000 registered

Our government has already undertaken an enormous amount of work to address climate change and steer Queensland toward our renewables future.

We have taken renewable energy from 7 per cent to more than 20 per cent with $11 billion of investment operational, under construction or committed in 50 new large-scale renewable projects - wind and solar farms.

That supports 7,900 construction jobs and helps Queensland avoid 13.8 million tonnes of emissions a year. Now we will take a significant step to tackle climate change head on.

And I am here today to tell you how significant this step will be.

I want Queensland to lead the nation and to be a world-leader.

Today I will explain to you how our government will steer Queensland for not only the foreseeable future but through decades to come.

Today I am launching the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan. A plan founded on expert advice, science and evidence-based policy.

The most ambitious energy and jobs plan of any government in Australia.

It’s aim is to shape Queensland as a serious, dedicated energy superpower.

It’s aim is to see Queensland lead the globe.



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