Queensland Government Kicks Off CleanCo

CleanCo - Queensland Government

Image: Queensland Government

The Palaszczuk Government announced yesterday afternoon it has commenced establishing CleanCo, Queensland’s new renewable energy, publicly owned electricity generator. But it won’t be all renewables.

A Palaszczuk Government 2017 election commitment, CleanCo involves re-structuring the state’s two publicly-owned electricity generation companies into three. It was to be started in the first half of this year, but is now expected to be trading in the National Electricity Market (EM) by the middle of next year; assuming regulatory approvals are received.

“CleanCo will have a strategic portfolio of low and no emission power generation assets, and will build, construct, own and maintain renewable energy generation,” stated Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said once up and running, CleanCo should reduce wholesale electricity prices by approximately $7/MWh on average, translating to an estimated saving on electricity bills of around $70 a year for the average Queensland household.

CleanCo will play an important role in Queensland achieving a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and will start with 1000MW of new renewable projects including solar energy, wind power and hydro facilities.

Solar Citizens (generally) welcomed the announcement.

“Building publicly-owned renewable energy power stations will create sustainable jobs in regional Queensland and shape our electricity system to meet the needs of Queenslanders, not multinational companies,” said the group’s Queensland campaigner, Louise Matthiesson.

While praising the renewables aspect, Solar Citizens wasn’t too keen on the “low emissions” bit, which it says will see Swanbank E Gas to be owned and operated by CleanCo.

“Gas is neither clean nor renewable. We’re concerned that it will distort the vision of CleanCo, which should be 100% focused on building a clean energy future for Queensland,” said Ms Matthiesson.

Also announced yesterday was the establishing of the “Just Transition Group”, which Minister for Employment Shannon Fentiman said would ensure workers and communities affected by the state’s energy transition are assisted, and that new jobs in the renewable sector are “good, decent jobs”.

No Takers In Townsville For Interest-Free Solar Loans

In other related recent news out of Queensland, the State Government has been spruiking its interest-free loans for solar systems to the people of Townsville.

On Tuesday, Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said up to 11,000 Townsville families could be eligible for the scheme, but just one household had applied at that point.

“Townsville is one of the best places in Australia to have a solar system,” stated Dr. Lynham. “It has an average of 3139 hours of sunshine a year, the highest of any city on the eastern seaboard.”

SQ’s Ronald looked into the program and wasn’t particularly impressed.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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