Queensland Regional Solar Projects under threat from Malcolm Turnbull

Published Wednesday, 23 March, 2016 at 05:54 PM

Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply
The Honourable Mark Bailey

Energy Minister Mark Bailey said large scale solar projects across Queensland were under threat from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s changes to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

“Malcolm Turnbull is a great disappointment for all those hoping for action on renewable energy,” he said.

“His proposal today to merge ARENA and CEFC is a $1.3 billion cut in solar energy grant funding. 

“The agency is a key partner of the Queensland Government in delivering renewable energy projects and jobs to the state.

“If ARENA loses all its capability for grant funding from a merge with CEFC,that is a very negative outcome for large scale solar in Queensland. 

"There are solar projects ready to go in Queensland. Continued Federal Government support is needed to see these projects get off the ground.

"Many of these projects will not go ahead if the Prime Minister succeeds with his changes.

"It is yet another unwelcome change to the financial arrangements in the renewable energy sector, and means the investment strike will continue. 

"Not one large solar project has been financed since the election of Tony Abbott, and things have gotten worse under Malcolm Turnbull.

“Today’s announcement of a new Innovation Fund offering debt and equity products comes at the expense of ARENA's existing grant based role being axed, which is vital for the sector.

Mr Bailey said the bad news came on the day of the inaugural meeting of the Queensland Renewable Energy Target expert panel for Queensland’s 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

“An expert panel of business, energy and environmental leaders has held its first official meeting today, in the latest step towards delivering a major renewable energy target for Queensland,” he said.

“We have deliberately chosen panel members with a strong mix of business experience and energy and environmental expertise.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to attracting significant investment into renewable energy developments across Queensland, creating jobs and helping our regional communities to thrive.

“Today’s meeting included detailed discussion on the development of an issues paper, which will soon be released for public consultation. The consultation process will include public and industry forums and online engagement options to ensure all stakeholders have an opportunity to participate.”

Individuals, businesses and community groups that want to be involved can register their interest on the Department of Energy and Water Supply website at https://www.dews.qld.gov.au/electricity/solar/solar-future/expert-panel.


Media Contacts: Tim Shipstone – 3719 7321, 0419 246 157