Queensland Renewable Energy plan update: clear targets and timelines required
The Glasgow COP 26 Agreement, finalised yesterday, urges parties, including Australia, to set stronger 2030 emissions reduction targets and accelerate phase down of coal and fossil fuel subsidies.
The Queensland Government’s Renewable Energy Zone Technical Paper, released today, is a welcome step towards more renewable energy generation, but fails to approach the level of urgency required to scale up renewable energy in Queensland and transition away from coal.
Queensland Conservation Council Director Dave Copeman welcomes the recognition that three Renewable Energy Zone regions across Queensland do not provide sufficient clarity for planning and that instead, the Queensland Government will incorporate REZ identified in AEMO’s Integrated System Plan.
“We are pleased to see the quantification for the first time of up to 3.3 GW capacity which could be unlocked in the first stage of each of the three REZ regions. The early indications of how the Queensland Government will manage access, declare REZ and create REZ Management Plans is also much needed.” Mr Copeman said.
“Unfortunately, the REZ Technical Paper still leaves Queensland at the back of the race. All other states within Australia’s National Electricity Market have set more ambitious and clearer renewable energy pathways than Queensland,” Mr Copeman said.
Both NSW and Victoria have released more advanced Renewable Energy Zone planning including renewable energy capacity targets and certainty on the responsible planning body. NSW’s plan also includes financial arrangements to underwrite new generation and storage.
“We call on the Queensland Government to increase their ambition to 6 GW, 2 GW in each of the three REZ regions, by 2025. This can be achieved by setting a timeline to declare REZ and REZ Management Plans, setting capacity targets and mechanisms to achieve these for each REZ and planning a timeline to develop this capacity within each REZ,” Mr Copeman said.
Additionally, the Technical Paper only cursorily addresses environment and land use provisions and therefore requires further development to meet planning needs.
“Queensland has just updated the threatened species status of 13 animals and 3 plants who are facing greater risk of extinction. Existing planning laws have not protected vulnerable habitats and species from fossil fuel and other developments, so cannot be relied upon to secure biodiversity assets,” Mr Copemand said.
“We can’t let new renewable projects be at the cost of more species losing critical habitat. We need the Queensland Government to create REZ plans that work for climate, and for nature.”
Media Contact: Dave Copeman, [email protected] Mobile: 0408 841595