CQ poised to reap the rewards of a boom in renewable energy
THE Labor Party believes the CQ region is on the cusp of a renewable energy boom if we can move beyond our historical focus on coal-driven power generation.
Shadow Assistant Minister for Climate Change, Energy and Infrastructure Pat Conroy said thanks to our young coal- fired power stations, Queensland was well placed to work towards transitioning towards a future renewable energy generating powerhouse with some key local projects on the verge of leaving their mark on the energy market.
Two key renewables projects for CQ were the massive $1b wind project at Clarke Creek (west of Marlborough), which was due to be constructed next year, creating about 350 construction jobs and generating 800MW and the recently approved $500m Rodds Bay solar project (south of Gladstone), expected to be commence construction later this year, generating 300MW and employing 300 construction workers.
"There's a great story about the potential for new industries to rise up here, there's untapped potential for areas like Central Queensland,” Mr Conroy said.
"Once the world makes the transition to clean energy, the countries that will be the home of cheap energy and hence energy intensive manufacturing like aluminium smelting, nickel refining, all those things, will be the countries with the best renewable energy resources.
"That's Australia, that's Queensland. We've got the best solar resources in the entire world and if we plan it right, if we do the policies now, we can be the home of low cost manufacturing for decades to come.”
Mr Conroy said the ALP wished to be part of an international solution on climate change and the current government's emissions target was "woeful” and a Shorten-led government would aspire to get carbon emissions down to 45 per cent on 2000 levels by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
It was states like Queensland, Mr Conroy said, who were forced to take the lead "filling the void” left by the lack of clear federal energy policy with nearly half the 6000MW of renewable energy projects to be built in the next year, half of it will be constructed in Queensland.
"There are 6000 clean energy jobs already and Rockhampton and Central Queensland will inevitably be a hub if we get the transition right,” he said.
Queensland's Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said more than 20 projects were currently either under way or financially committed to, worth more than $4.5b, creating more than 3500 construction jobs across the state.
Resources Minister Senator Matt Canavan disagreed with Mr Conroy's plan, saying that to have a strong manufacturing industry, you needed a coal- fired power station.
"You can't run an aluminium smelter on part-time power, when the sun shines and the wind blows, that's just absurd, it's got to run 24/7,” Senator Canavan said.
"Renewable energy is part-time power, it is weather dependent.”
"I've got nothing against renewables but if you think you can run a full-time manufacturing facility on 100 per cent renewables is fairy land stuff.”
Senator Canavan did leave the door open for technical advancement in the decades to come with battery technology and pumped hydro storage, but for the time being he regarded these options as unviable for powering a manufacturing industry.
"What I'm saying is why can't we have all types of power?” he said.
"The more power we have, the better our nation will be, the stronger it will be, more resilient it will be.
"Let's build coal, let's build wind, let's build solar, let's build everything so we can grow jobs and our economy.”