Queensland has officially become the Solar State with new figures confirming that combined solar rooftops are now Queensland’s largest power station – surpassing the 1,680 megawatt Gladstone Power Station.
Energy Minister Mark Bailey announced this exciting milestone at the Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) – annual Energy Conference this morning and said the continued uptake of solar again confirms the Palaszczuk Government has got it right on renewable energy policy.
“Latest Energy Queensland figures show that as of 1 May, there are now more than 438,000 residential rooftops with solar connections and 1,706 megawatts of solar in Queensland,” Mr Bailey said.
“This means that our rooftops are the largest generation capacity in the State.”
Mr Bailey said Queensland currently had the highest installed capacity of rooftop solar panels in Australia and one of the highest penetration rates of anywhere in the world.
“We’re turning the Sunshine State into the Solar State and we’re well on our way to meeting our target for one million Queensland rooftops with solar or 3,000 megawatts of total solar by 2020,” he said.
“Queensland is now home to a mix of residential solar as well as more large-scale commercial and industrial projects, supplying the State’s electricity grid with clean and renewable energy.
“Large scale projects such as the 25 megawatt Barcaldine Solar Farm are beginning to feed into our grid and more large scale projects will start to come online as a result of the Palaszczuk Government’s Solar 150 initiative, including the Whitsunday Solar Farm, Kidston Solar Project, Oakey Solar Farm, and the Longreach Solar Farm.
“They are part of a total pipeline of more than 1 gigawatts of renewable energy projects that are financially committed in Queensland, a $2 billion investment delivering around 2,000 direct jobs.
“This additional generation will also help put downward pressure on electricity prices.”
Mr Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government remained committed to increasing renewable generation to 50 per cent by 2030, with a planned and measured approach.
“That is why we established an independent Renewable Energy Expert Panel to advise on credible pathways to achieve a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030,” he said.
“Solar, wind, hydro and biomass will complement our existing baseload fleet to deliver a diversified energy mix that will ensure security, reliability, affordability and environmental responsibility.
“We came to government with a clear commitment to increase the uptake of renewable energy after the renewable energy blackout under the former LNP government.
“The LNP did nothing while Queensland lost 1300 renewable energy sector jobs during their time in office. Tim Nicholls even referred to everyday Queenslanders who installed solar panels as “champagne sippers and the latte set” proving just how out of touch he was and still is.
“Increased uptake in renewable energy thanks to the Palaszczuk Government is an important step in reducing emissions and mitigating climate change to protect our Great Barrier Reef, while creating new jobs and diversifying the state’s economy.”