Regional Lessons on getting the Renewable Roll Out Right

Members of the QCC climate team, Clare and Steph, spent the last week in Rockhampton and Mackay to work with Capricorn Conservation Council, Mackay Conservation Group, Gladstone Conservation Council and Environmental Advocacy in Central Queensland to map out a plan for getting the renewable energy roll out right.

During our trip, they engaged with local conservationists, farmers, Traditional Owners and a local action group opposed to a proposed wind farm to hear their thoughts on how the energy transition is going and how it can be improved. 

A number of concerns were raised from people on the ground, including poor community engagement practices from renewable developers and the need for better planning so we're building projects in areas that have a minimal environmental footprint. 

Even though the team listened to many different voices, they heard the same message come through: we support the transition to renewable energy but we want it done right so that projects benefit nature, our climate and communities.

A key tension that we're seeing play out right now is that Australia and Queensland have ineffective nature protection and planning laws which means development of all kinds can occur in environmentally significant areas.

We have to improve our planning laws and get this right so that renewable energy projects benefit nature, our climate and communities. If we don't get the planning right the renewable energy industry will lose social licence, and that would be devastating outcome that would delay action on climate change. 
That's why, we're campaigning for a clean energy industry that benefits nature and communities. To achieve this, we're calling on the Queensland and Australian governments to:
  1. Urgently deliver land-use, biodiversity and cultural heritage mapping that guides the Renewable Energy Zone development and shows renewable energy developers where to build projects.

  2. Strengthen the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act as well as Queensland’s solar and wind planning regulations so that projects can’t proceed in unsuitable locations and habitat clearing is minimised. It’s also vital that Queensland has solar and wind planning codes that require community engagement.

  3. Ensure that any project delivered or backed by a government-owned corporation or in a designated Renewable Energy Zone genuinely delivers on the Regional Energy Transformation Partnerships Framework principles to empower communities, build local industry and protect nature.

  4. Establish community reference groups that are empowered to make strategic decisions on the allocation of pooled community benefit funds so that renewable development delivers long-term community benefits.

  5. Work with local community reference groups, including local conservation groups, to identify and implement initiatives that improve biodiversity in the regions hosting renewable energy projects.

Support these asks? Write to Queensland's key Ministers today!