Queensland releases Powering Queensland Plan

A steering committee will be set up to oversee Queensland’s renewables sector and another will be directed to change its bidding practices to focus on supply over profit in an attempt to drive down wholesale electricity prices under a new energy plan unveiled by the Palaszczuk Government.

But the Queensland Government is yet to reveal how it will reach its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, instead waiting until the Commonwealth releases it’s climate policies.

A $1.16 billion power plan including a reverse auction to deliver up to 400MW of renewable energy and the likely establishment of a government-owned corporation – a Clean Co – to oversee the renewable sector and increase competition.

A body dubbed the Energy Security Taskforce will be established and charged with implementing the outcomes of the Finkel Review accepted by the Queensland Government and ensuring demand can be met.

The government-owned power generators Stanwell and CS Energy will likely be restructured to allow for the “Clean Co” to be established, with Stanwell directed to alter bidding practices on the national electricity market, focusing on output rather than profit, to reduce pressure on wholesale power prices.

Renewable Energy Expert Panel Final Report

As part of the Powering Queensland Plan, the Government released its response to the Renewable

Energy Expert Panel Final Report into pathways to a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

Key commitments outlined in the Government’s response include:

• Undertaking a reverse auction for 400 MW of renewable energy capacity in the second half of 2017. The initial reverse auction will support the bringing forward of renewable energy technology solutions which drive long term energy security.

• Undertaking additional reverse auctions as a mechanism for delivering key renewable energy projects post 2020.

• Supporting the delivery of renewable energy projects through a streamlined assessment process. This will be achieved through the updating of relevant planning instruments, including the State Planning Policy and State Development AssessmentProvisions.

• Identifying under-utilised or underperforming government land in regional Queensland that has the potential to be transformed into large-scale renewable energy projects.

• Attracting international and interstate investment in Queensland’s renewable energy sector through inter-departmental collaboration.

The Government’s full response to the Renewable Energy Expert Panel Final Report is available here.

Powering North Queensland Plan

The Government’s Powering North Queensland Plan, released on 2 June 2017, is another element of the Powering Queensland Plan.

The Government’s Powering North Queensland Plan includes the following projects and initiatives:

[if !supportLists]• [endif]$150 million, reinvested from Powerlink dividends, for the development of strategic transmission infrastructure linking Far North, Central, and North Queensland through specific renewable energy hub projects.

[if !supportLists]• [endif]$100 million, reinvested from Stanwell dividends, for a feasibility study into the expansion of Queensland’s hydro-electric facilities – specifically at Burdekin Falls.

• Commissioning of a hydro-electric study to assess options for new hydro-electricity across state, specifically in regional Queensland.

Further information on the Powering North Queensland Plan is available here.

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