Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has committed $151 million to increase reliance on renewable energy generation if re-elected by Queenslanders.
Queensland’s Labor government is in ongoing talks with American energy firm Boston Global to build a battery factory in Townsville, amid a $151 million election pledge to kickstart plans for a new solar plant.
Flanked by rows of panels at the Clare Solar Farm in the Burdekin electorate on Sunday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk promised the multi-million dollar cash injection into the state’s renewable energy sector.
“We know that there is a renewable energy boom in this state,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We anticipate there is going to be in the order of $20 billion worth of investment happening in Queensland.
“That has the capability of creating more than 15,000 jobs and these jobs are predominantly in regional Queensland.”
The premier said she’d make a $50 million downpayment to build a new solar thermal base load generator, spend another $97 million fitting schools with solar panels and an additional $3.6 million to help remote communities reduce their carbon footprint.
The measures are part of Labor’s broader strategy to reach its goal of at least 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
Ms Palaszczuk lashed out at Liberal National Party leader Tim Nicholls’ promise to build a coal fired power plant in the state’s north, a project One Nation has flagged as a deal breaker if it wins the balance of power.
“We have heard Tim Nicholls backing a brand new coal fired power station that would take seven years to construct,” she said, a significant drag on the 18 months Labor officials say it would take to build a solar thermal plant.
“(It) would end up being more expensive than what renewables are coming onto line at the moment.”
Mr Nicholls trashed the plan, saying the government’s own renewable energy study pointed to less jobs than had been touted.
“So again, ideology and idiocy ahead of affordability and reliability,” he said.
The premier has previously backed a Boston Energy-led consortium plan to build a $US1.6 billion ($A2 billion) lithium-ion manufacturing plant in Townsville, where the major parties and One Nation are battling to win over voters.
The Townsville City Council signed a memorandum of understanding with Boston Energy and Innovation chairman Bill Moss in April to investigate the financial viability of building the 15-gigawatt-hour battery plant that is estimated to create thousands of jobs.
In June, the council offered land at the former CSIRO Lansdown research station south of Townsville in exchange for equity in the project.
Boston Energy claims the plant will be able to produce up to one million home battery units or 250,000 car batteries once it’s at full production.