Who will come out on top? Queensland Government weighs up renewable energy prospects

Who will come out on top? Queensland Government weighs up renewable energy prospects

The Queensland Government is sitting on a decision to finally choose which of the list of 10 significant renewable energy developments it will back with taxpayer funds. This will come under a program to help increase renewable energy use, even after original bids closed more than two and a half years ago.

Among the list of candidates for the funds or power purchase contracts – government guarantees to buy the power that these projects generate – is the vast wind farm proposed to be built near Stanthorpe. It’s likely to exceed costs of more than $1bn and will coincide with another wind farm in the state’s central region, which will feature more than 200 turbines.

Sifting through the candidates is government-standalone CleanCo, which acts as a renewable power company. It has assessed each of the contenders looking for taxpayer backing and will make a final decision on the winning bid within a few weeks.

Who exactly is CleanCo?

Since its inception in 2018, CleanCo has been Queensland’s third publicly-owned generator and has the intention of turning up the competition across the market, as well as generating interest for new renewable energy projects. So far, the government has injected more than $250m into CleanCo, which began operating on the official energy market in October.

Its program – the Renewables 400 – is aimed at making sure an additional 400 megawatts of both wind and solar power is generating across the state. This includes up to 100MW of battery storage and will meet the original targets from the Palaszczuk government’s goal of 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

As it stands, about 9.9 per cent of Queensland’s electricity is created by more significant renewable developments, with smaller generators – like household solar panels – contributing another 6 per cent.

Deputy Premier Treasurer Jackie Trad said CleanCo’s recent activities have proved it is “highly engaged in identifying projects for investment, and funding will be provided to CleanCo as projects are identified, assessed and approved.”

Looking towards the future

Within the running, a significant project from global energy and water giant Acciona sits a $1bn wind farm for MacIntyre near Stanthorpe – approximately 200km southwest of Brisbane. The facility will feature 120 turbines and generate around 540MW of power.

All in all, the Palaszczuk government is aiming for CleanCo to generate 1000MW of clean energy for Queensland over the next five years.

Reference: The Australian