Treasurer and Acting Energy Minister Curtis Pitt has called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to visit some of Queensland’s state of the art wind, solar and hydro renewable energy projects during his blow in visit this week.
Mr Pitt said the PM's visit seemed to have been planned only to muddy the waters of the national energy debate and continue to blame Queensland for his failure to come up with real reform to the national energy market.
“It would be good if the Prime Minister acknowledged that Queensland is leading the nation in renewables investment and energy pricing outcomes,” Mr Pitt said.
“The Prime Minister, on his visit to Queensland, is continuing to offer no real solutions to end the policy uncertainty and high electricity prices plaguing the nation.
“Mr Turnbull should at least get a sound understanding of the renewable energy boom happening in Queensland, and that we’re moving towards having the right mix of electricity generation to provide an affordable, secure and sustainable supply of electricity.”
Mr Pitt said a new Green Energy Markets’ Renewable Energy Index report released today showed renewable energy jobs in Queensland surpassed those in New South Wales for the first time.
“The Palaszczuk Government welcomes the report and it also welcomes any jobs that come as a result of Queensland’s renewable energy boom,” he said.
“This level of investment is unprecedented and I’m proud to be part of a government that kick-started the industry in Queensland after not one large scale renewable energy project was built during the previous LNP government.
“As at 30 August, 2017 – there are 20 financially committed large scale renewable projects in the pipeline worth $3.4 billion , with a generating capacity of 1781 MW and supporting 2,773 construction jobs, however the broader pipeline of proposed projects is 40 projects ,worth $5 billion, with a generating capacity of 5297 MW and 9,245 jobs.”
Mr Pitt said the report showed Queenslanders continued to embrace solar on their rooftops.
“In May this year we announced that Queensland had officially become the solar state with figures confirming that combined solar rooftops are now Queensland’s largest power station – surpassing the 1,680 megawatt Gladstone Power Station,” he said.
“As at August 2017, there are over 450,000 residential customers with solar PV in Queensland. There is 1799 megawatts of total solar PV installed on the network.
“We’re well on our way to meeting our target for one million Queensland rooftops with solar or 3,000 megawatts of total solar by 2020.
“Solar PV costs are continuing to decline which is a likely contributor in the continual uptake of solar.
“I’d say Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls is regretting the day he ever called those who adopted solar champagne sippers and the latte set.”
Mr Pitt said the Electricity Statement of Opportunities recently released by AEMO confirmed that Queensland’s electricity supply remains secure and is predicted to meet peak demand in all forecast scenarios.
“Queensland has the youngest, least emission-intensive fleet of coal-fired generation in the country which is well placed to continue to supply reliable electricity for North Queensland as we make the transition to a clean energy future,” he said.
“If the market saw a new coal-fired power plant as viable, they would have built one already and they haven’t.
“Even the Prime Minister last month rejected funding a NQ coal-fired plant saying: ‘We have no plans to build a coal-fired power station…’
His Treasurer, Scott Morrison, also said: “New cheap coal is a bit of a myth… And [High Efficiency Low Emission coal-fired power station] takes seven years to turn up, so if we that is all of a sudden going to make your power bills cheap next month, it won’t.’
“Renewable energy is undeniably the cheapest form of new energy infrastructure to build in Australia over a new coal-fired power station. In fact assessment of the modelling prepared for the Finkel Review showed that the capital cost of a new ultra-supercritical coal-fired power station is at least 34% more than an equivalent solar farm.
“The Finkel Review modelling also clearly showed a CET would deliver lower electricity prices, more investment and lower emissions compared to a business as usual approach and that households would be around $90 better off per year over the next decade under a CET.
“The Palaszczuk Government is 100% committed to adopting the cheapest and most efficient forms of energy generation to lower power bills and to continuing to use public ownership to back consumers.”
“The LNP and Tim Nicholls don’t care about electricity prices paid by Queenslanders. That’s why power bills increased by 43% under the LNP’s time in office, compared to an average of 1.9% per year under Labor.”
Acting Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply
The Honourable Curtis Pitt