A SOLAR FUTURE. Powering Queensland s renewable energy industries

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1 A SOLAR FUTURE Powering Queensland s renewable energy industries

2 Published January 2015 Authorised A Chisholm 16 Peel Street South Brisbane Qld 4101 for the Australian Labor Party Photos courtesy of istock and Shutterstock

3 A message from Annastacia A Labor Government will set a target for a million Queensland rooftops to have solar panels by Increasing uptake of renewable energy in the Sunshine State will not only be good for the environment, it will help lower electricity costs for families and businesses and it will create new jobs. Queensland Labor will commission a review to determine a fair price for solar homes selling their power back into the grid. We will also trial a 40-megawatt renewable energy auction; commence a renewable energy study to investigate policy measures to aid creation of an export-orientated renewable energy economy; and review opening up the provision of electricity in remote areas to competition from councils. This will provide communities with a direct say on localised solutions to lower the cost of delivering power through innovation. By encouraging investment in baseload solar power stations through our renewable energy auction, we will leverage private investment to create the high-tech renewable energy jobs of the future right here in Queensland. In contrast the LNP which is stuck in the past and has no vision. Renewable energy is also a focus of our $50 million Advance Queensland science and innovation policy. The targets in this policy are both ambitious and aspirational, but for a State which gets more sunshine than virtually anywhere else on earth, they are achievable. Annastacia Palaszczuk MP Leader of the Opposition

4 A Labor Government will support job-generating initiatives in the renewable energy industries by: t $POEVDUJOH B SFWJFX UISPVHI UIF JOEFQFOEFOU 2VFFOTMBOE 1SPEVDUJWJUZ $PNNJTTJPO JOUP B GBJS QSJDF GPS TPMBS t $PNNJU UP B USJBM NFHBXBUU SFOFXBCMF FOFSHZ BVDUJPO UP TVQQPSU private investment and jobs in the renewable energy industry t $PNNFODJOH B SFOFXBCMF FOFSHZ TUVEZ GPS UIF 4VOTIJOF 4UBUF UP investigate policy measures to support the creation of an export-oriented renewable energy economy t $PNNJU UP B SFWJFX UP JOWFTUJHBUF XIFUIFS UIF QSPWJTJPO PG FMFDUSJDJUZ JO SFNPUF BSFBT DBO CF PQFOFE VQ UP DPNQFUJUJPO GSPN MPDBM HPWFSONFOUT which would provide communities with a direct say on localised TPMVUJPOT JODMVEJOH UIF GBDJMJUBUJPO PG Pò UIF HSJE UFDIOPMPHJFT "T B SFTVMU PG UIFTF JOJUJBUJWFT -BCPS XJMM EFWFMPQ QPMJDZ SFTQPOTFT UP IFMQ QVU EPXOXBSE QSFTTVSF PO FMFDUSJDJUZ QSJDFT A SOLAR FUTURE - 2

5 The challenge Unlike the LNP, which is only focussed on the next electoral cycle, the Queensland Labor Party accepts the scientific consensus on climate change and is committed to a long-term plan to support job-generating renewable energy industries in Queensland. The LNP s ideological focus on four pillars risks leaves Queensland in the past as our major trading partners, including China and Japan, continue to shift towards renewable energy and away from fossil fuels. In 2013, China generated more energy from renewable sources including water, wind and solar, than the entire power generation of France and Germany combined. The United States and China recently entered into an agreement whereby Beijing will increase its use of zero-emission power to 20% by 2030, with the United States committing to double the pace of cuts in emissions by Japan has also introduced a feed-in tariff for renewable energy. As the world continues to move towards a de-carbonised economy, the Queensland Government needs a strategy to support job-generating renewable energy industries. Recent data from Earth Sciences at NASA has confirmed that 2014 was the hottest year on record despite, the absence of a strong El Niño. This will place further pressure on governments around the world to take action on climate change. The LNP said it would support solar and renewable energy industries before the 2012 election and then slashed all existing renewable energy policies and targets after the election. Only Queensland Labor has a strategy to support job-generating renewable energy industries in Queensland. The previous Labor Government s solar policies supported 1078 megawatts of 100% emission-free solar generation across 332,000 Queensland rooftops, lowering the generation price of electricity. This is more generation capacity than some coal-fired baseload power stations, such as Kogan Creek at 750 megawatts. A SOLAR FUTURE - 3

6 LNP breaks power promises The Newman LNP Government said before the last election that it was committed to: Supporting ongoing research and development of new and emerging renewable and alternative energy technologies for the future with a focus on developing; solar Continuing the feed-in tariff for solar power generated by roof-top solar panels Acting to address Queensland s rising household energy bills and immediately the standard domestic tariff (Tariff 11) providing savings of around $120 a year on power bills compared with Labor until replaced with an acceptable cost-reflective system. (Source: The Cando LNP Resources and Energy Strategy page 34) The LNP then boasted in its election costings document, released 48 hours before the election, that it would cut $660 million in renewable energy programs, stating that: redundant carbon schemes are a luxury Queensland just can t afford. After the election, the LNP also abolished the 44-cent solar feed-in tariff and the subsequent eight-cent solar feed-in tariff, despite making a clear commitment before the 2012 election to continue the 44-cent feed-in tariff. The Newman Government has also failed on its promise to lower electricity prices, with bills rising by more than $440 a year on average, including the largest yearly increase on record. After promising to control prices before the election, the Newman Government has now deregulated electricity prices in south-east Queensland leaving, the market to set the price. The Newman LNP Government has also hired advisors to start the sale of every government-owned power line and power station in Queensland. A SOLAR FUTURE - 4

7 Labor s solution Unlike the Newman LNP Government, which has failed to present any plan for a renewable energy industry, Queensland Labor will implement a plan to support renewable energy with the aspirational target of Queensland having one million solar rooftops by Initiating a joint review by the independent Queensland Productivity Commission with the support of the independent Queensland Competition Authority into a fair price for solar. Commencing a trial 40-megawatt renewable energy auction to support private investment and jobs in the renewable energy industry. Commencing a renewable energy study for the Sunshine State to investigate policy measures to support the creation of an export orientated renewable energy economy. Investigating the provision of electricity in remote areas to competition from local governments, providing communities with a direct say on localised solutions, including the facilitation of off-the-grid technologies. A SOLAR FUTURE - 5

8 Benefits Fair price for solar Labor will conduct a review to determine a fair price for families who export the solar power they produce at home into the grid. This review will be led by the independent Queensland Productivity Commission, which will be established by Labor, with input and advice from the independent Queensland Competition Authority. The terms of reference for this review will require that a fair price for solar must not have an unreasonable impact on network costs for non-solar users. The fair price for solar will be determined based on an assessment of public and consumer benefits, rather than on the requirements of large power companies. The setting of a fair price for solar will provide families with a reasonable price for the solar energy they export back to the grid while also factoring in the transmission and distribution network costs of solar. Renewable energy auction The Queensland Government has a crucial role to play in supporting the development of emerging industries that will drive economic growth, job creation and economic prosperity in the future. The former Labor Government s Queensland Gas Scheme, which mandated that 15 per cent of electricity be sourced from gas-fired generation, was crucial to the investment in gas exploration that will result in Queensland being the second largest seaborne LNG exporter in the world. The LNP s view that government s role is only as an enabler and not a leader in policy development is short-sighted and sells Queenslanders short. That is why a Labor Government will trial a request for proposals for up to 40 megawatts of large-scale renewable energy generation in Queensland. Queensland Labor s commitment to a 40 megawatt solar auction follows similar successful policies in Brazil, South Africa and the Australia Capital Territory. A University of Western Australia study has found that increased uptake of renewable energy and grid storage technology will lower overall electricity costs while also reducing carbon emissions by 25 per cent compared with a base case. Policies to promote a greater reliance on renewable energy are no longer a trade-off between higher cost energy and environmental sustainability. With improvements to storage technology, policies to promote renewable energy are now common sense. A SOLAR FUTURE - 6

9 The Economist has recently concluded that because of grid storage technology improvements, renewables will no longer be fighting the battle with one hand tied behind their back. 2 Under Labor s proposal, the government will only pay the generator for the difference between a feed-in tariff rate for large-scale renewable energy generation (contracted from the auction), and the prevailing wholesale price of electricity in the national electricity market. This policy will lower market risk for proponents, allowing them to access finance, generate investment and create jobs in renewable energy industries in Queensland. In the ACT, their solar auction policy has attracted more than $100 million in infrastructure investment, supported 165 construction jobs and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.4 million tonnes over 20 years. 3 Labor will commence a renewable energy study for the Sunshine State, including an independent and public inquiry into the adoption of a 50% renewable energy target by This study will also investigate the feasibility of policy measures to create a new export-oriented renewable energy economy based on value-added manufacturing, services, expertise and technology innovation. Localised renewable energy solutions Local governments in Queensland have been negotiating with state-owned energy companies to buy back street lighting grids to install energy efficient LED street lights and to source alternative renewable sources of power. Queensland Labor will initiate a review to investigate whether local governments can be provided with a greater say on community-based solutions to lower the cost of delivering power, particularly in remote communities reliant on the uniform tariff policy for affordable power. The roll-out of new smart technology, including street lights that can read water meters, regulate parking and provide CCTV security, are at risk of being delayed without providing local communities with a say. The best outcomes for Queensland s communities can only be achieved by providing them with direct input into their power generation and distribution needs. With the shift towards low-carbon technologies there will be a greater reliance on micro-grids in regional and remote communities with a lower reliance on high-voltage power distribution networks. A SOLAR FUTURE - 7

10 Queensland Labor will initiate a review as to how local communities and local governments can be provided with a direct say on how their power assets are managed. This review will include consideration of a legislative mechanism for local governments to take control of their power generation and distribution needs and buy back assets such as local street lighting in consultation with the state owned energy companies. In contrast, under the LNP s plan, every government-owned power line and power station in Queensland will be sold to the private sector, removing the input of future generations of Queenslanders into the delivery of electricity in their communities. Labor s commitment A Labor Government will: on the successful solar auction to support private investment and jobs in the renewable energy industry investigate policy measures to support the creation of an export- orientated renewable energy economy electricity in remote areas can be opened up to competition from Endnotes 1 Renew Economy (2014) Why utility-scale battery storage is essential to save grid, and consumers 2 The Economist (2014) Grid-scale storage 3 ACT Open Government (2014) Canberra s renewable energy future : New solar farms announced A SOLAR FUTURE - 8

11 A SOLAR FUTURE - 9

12 For more information: facebook.com/apalaszczukmp

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