The package includes A$150 million to back the construction of a 500 km transmission line between Townsville and Cairns, in order to facilitate the development of a regional clean energy hub. “New transmission infrastructure in North Queensland could unlock around (2 GW) of new renewable projects and support up to 4,600 jobs,” the state authorities said.
The plans sets aside A$770 million to cap consumer electricity prices, partly by covering the cost of incentives under the Solar Bonus Scheme. In late May, the government revealed a plan to roughly halve an unexpected jump in regional electricity prices, partly by dropping surcharges on electricity bills to cover the state’s solar feed-in tariff, which it aims to do until at least the end of the decade.
“Recent supply and demand shocks have led to unprecedented increases in wholesale energy prices in Queensland and across the National Electricity Market,” the government said.
Roughly 1.7 GW of rooftop PV has been installed in Queensland, in addition to 700 MW of large-scale renewables capacity, according to government figures. Approximately 1.2 GW of large-scale projects have gone into development at 17 locations in the state since early 2016, including the 135 MW Ross River array and a 50 MW near the town of Kidston.
The government described its new Powering Queensland Plan as an integrated approach to energy issues in the state over the short and long term. “Challenges are being driven by closure of aging coal-fired generation and gas supply restrictions,” the state authorities said, pointing to “a lack of investor confidence and an uncertain national policy.”
The state government also aims to support improvements in the way large-scale renewables are planned, built and connected to the grid. In addition, it restated its determination to source 50% of its electricity needs from renewables by 2030.