Queensland Can Reach its 50% Renewable Target by 2030, Experts Say

Jon Capistrano
Jon Capistrano
October 14, 2016

The Guardian reported  that the state of Queensland has three credible options in achieving a 50% renewable energy target by 2030, a panel of experts said.

A draft report by the state’s independent renewable energy expert panel said significant government policy action would be needed for Australia’s biggest carbon polluting state to reach the target. But they also said the impact on electricity prices would be neutral.

Earlier this month, Josh Frydenberg, federal environment minister criticised Queensland and other states for pursuing ridiculously high and unrealistic renewable targets. The report was handed down last Wednesday by the panel’s chair and investment banker Colin Mugglestone, charted 3 scenarios for Queensland to achieve its target, which would require between 4000 megawatts and 5500 megawatts of new large-scale renewable generation capacity between 2020 and 20130.

Up until 2020, the state government could use existing federal funding under the national renewable energy target in attracting projects in Queensland, as stated by the report. Queensland’s power sector is the single largest source of carbon emission will be cut from 2016 by about 31% if a stronger national climate policy was enacted, including through carbon pricing. This would see the closure of about 1500 megawatts of coal-fired generation. In Queensland, but limit state subsidies to renewable producers to $50 million.

A national emission intensity scheme will drive Queensland to reach 41% renewable energy generation, leaving state government action to deliver 1900 megawatts to hit the 50% target.

Other scenarios include the steady increase in renewable generation or a ramp up closer to 2030 to take advantage of cheaper technology, would both cut emissions by 25%, the steady growth would cost significantly more via renewable subsidies at $900 million as compared to $500 under the ramp pathway, but the cumulative cuts would be greater.

Under these 2 scenarios, there is no closure of existing fossil-fuel generators that is expected prior to 2030, but the operating cash flows would take a hit of between $600m and $1.1 billion. Now this would mostly affect the state, which owns 2/3 of the generation capacity.

Click here to read the full story on The Guardian

Featured Image Credit: The Guardian

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