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Queensland unveils Renewables 400 program to boost local energy security, jobs

Published 08 August 2017

The regional government of Queensland, Australia has unveiled ‘Renewables 400’ initiative in an attempt to boost local energy security and jobs.

The latest move is part of the government’s A$1.16bn Powering Queensland Plan and a follow up to its earlier Solar 150 Program.

Under the new initiative, the government will support companies which want to build large-scale renewable and battery storage projects in the state.

Significant importance has been given to energy storage by the government, which stated that energy storage will play a crucial role in the deployment of long-term renewable energy projects. There are plans to install at least 100MW of energy storage in the state by 2020.

Queensland State Treasurer and Acting Energy Minister Curtis Pitt said: “Successful bidders will be awarded financial contracts with the Government for some or all of the electricity they generate which will provide them with long-term certainty allowing them to secure the financing required to deliver their project.

“The ‘reverse’ nature of the auction process means that companies are encouraged to bid for the lowest price necessary to support their project.

“The criteria to select successful bidders will include not only price but also support for local businesses and jobs and with a view to creating a diverse mix of renewable energy generation and storage to support a secure, reliable and affordable supply of electricity into the future.”

The Minister emphasized on companies to register for the bidding process as soon as possible, as early registrations can offer adequate time to start with the bidding process, once it begins.

The Minister also claimed that there were hardly any renewable energy projects before the Palaszczuk’s government was elected. After the election, in 18 months of time, 17 projects have been given financial commitments, worth A$2.3bn ($1.82bn) in investment and 2200 construction jobs.

Pitt added: “Energy is undergoing a transformational change in the way it is generated, transported and used and as a government you have to plan for that and not stick your head in the sand and pretend our only option is expensive coal-fired power stations anymore.

“We’re committed to transitioning to a clean energy future in a responsible, achievable and sustainable way – with affordability always front and centre.”