The Queensland Government announced this week that it will transition to renewable energy and end its reliance on coal-fired power generation by 2035.

The Premier announced what she said will be “the biggest pumped hydro scheme in the world”, saying a new dam in the Pioneer Valley near Mackay will supply half of Queensland’s entire energy needs with “clean, reliable and affordable renewable energy”.

The Government’s Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan sets out a transition that includes targets for 70% renewable energy by 2032 and for all coal-fired power stations to be operating as clean energy hubs by 2035.

The Government’s $62 billion Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan includes:

  • 70% of Queensland’s energy supply from renewables by 2032
  • 80% by 2035
  • Two new pumped hydros at Pioneer/Burdekin and Borumba Dam by 2035
  • A new Queensland SuperGrid connecting solar, wind, battery and hydrogen generators across the State
  • Unlocking 22GW of new renewable capacity – giving us 8 times our current level
  • Publicly owned coal fired-power stations to convert to clean energy hubs to transition to, for example, hydrogen power, with jobs guarantees for workers
  • Queensland’s publicly-owned coal-fired power stations to stop reliance on burning coal by 2035
  • 100,000 new jobs by 2040, most in regional Queensland
  • 11.5GW of rooftop solar and 6GW of embedded batteries
  • 95% of investment in regional Queensland
  • Building Queensland’s first hydrogen ready gas turbine
  • Projects subject to environmental approvals

The Premier said in a statement today that this is a visionary plan that sets Queensland up for the next century.

This plan is all about cheaper, cleaner and secure energy for Queenslanders,” the Premier said.

“It is about turbo-charging new investment in new minerals, batteries and manufacturing.

The Premier said renewable energy is the cheapest form of new energy.

“This plan makes Queensland the renewable energy capital of the world.

“It also takes real and decisive action on climate change providing the biggest commitment to renewable energy in Australia’s history.”

Public Ownership

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the Energy and Jobs Plan ensured Queensland’s power generators remain in public ownership.

“This has proved vital to investment in cleaner, cheaper energy,” the Minister said.

“We will maintain majority public ownership of generation and 100% public ownership of transmission and distribution.”

Transition Welcomed

The Australian Conservation Foundation today welcomed the announcement and called on the Queensland Opposition to add its support to the plan.

ACF warmly welcomes the Palaszczuk government’s commitment to a massive renewable energy build in the coming decade,” ACF’s Chief Executive, Kelly O’Shanassy, said.

“The Queensland way of life and natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree and the Wet Tropics are vulnerable to climate change, fuelled by burning coal and gas.

“These plans will help combat climate change and give business and workers the confidence they crave and put Queensland on the way to becoming a clean energy superpower.

“Given the climate crisis, we call on Opposition Leader David Crisafulli to back the plan to ensure emissions reduction, energy security and investment certainty for Queensland.

The ACF said the plan’s commitment to pumped hydro as a firming source, instead of building more battery capacity, means the Palaszczuk government will need to reassure Queenslanders that the transition won’t come at the expense of the state’s unspoiled rivers and native vegetation.

“It is up to the government to show how it can achieve its renewable energy plans without damaging Queensland’s world-renowned nature and unique species.

“Queensland has every reason to move quickly away from fossil fuels and become a leader in cutting emissions.

“The state’s 2030 emissions reduction target remains among the weakest in the country and is inconsistent with the Albanese government’s 43% target. It should be strengthened immediately.”

Last month ACF, along with WWF and QCC, released a report by Accenture, Queensland Climate Action Plan: laying the foundation for a successful climate transformation, setting out how Queensland could halve its domestic climate emissions by 2030 and create 87,000 new jobs across new industries by harnessing its abundant renewable energy capacities.

The Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) said today that while it will continue to push for 100% renewable energy, the new plan is a significant step from the Queensland Government.

This big renewables build will reduce emissions in the Electricity sector by 90% by 2035. This is a significant reduction and we’ll continue to push for greater emission reduction targets across all sectors in Queensland.”

The QCC said it will be keeping a close eye on new renewables projects to make sure that their design ensures the best win for both climate and nature.

Cover image Shutterstock.