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Sunshine Coast praised for renewable efforts

1st Nov 2011

Queenland's minister for tourism, manufacturing and small business Jan Jarratt has praised those on the Sunshine Coast for contributing to the growing demand for green products and services, including solar power.

Opening the 2011 Clean Futures Conference at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Innovation Centre , Ms Jarratt said the region has a growing reputation for renewable products and services, particularly amongst businesses.

"There's growing demand for green products and services that is being driven by consumer sentiment, architectural trends, climate change and international moves towards low-carbon economies," Ms Jarratt said.

Ms Jarratt contributed the success to the renewable energy vision shared by the Sunshine Coast regional council, local university and industry development agencies.

"We are positioning Queensland to take advantage of what is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, with the global market for environmental products and services predicted to reach US$2,740 billion by 2020," Ms Jarratt said.

Earlier this year, the regional council approved a development application to transform a 50-hectare site at near Coolum into a state-of-the-art solar park, utilising the power of 50,000 solar panels.

The venture - worth over $40 million - will be able to feed enough power into the local grid for approximately 2,500 Sunshine Coast homes. Construction of the site is due to commence before the end of the year.

The initiatives undertaken by those on the Sunshine Coast are part of a wider Queensland government plan.

The Bligh government announced last week that it would undertake more than 20 programs over the next two years to assist in the further development of Queensland’s green power sector.

The Renewable Energy Industry Development Plan (REIDP) defines five key policy priorities - innovation, renewable energy zones, jobs, regulatory reform and incentives.

One project recently launched is the Queensland Solar Atlas, an interactive map indicating the average potential solar generation output across the state.

"We want to see this clean energy source [solar] incorporated into all aspects of our lives and the Solar Atlas will help deliver this goal," Queensland energy minister Stephen Robertson said.

Information from the Solar Atlas states that the north-west, far north and central west regions of the state have the most potential for future solar power generation projects in Queensland.

According to the Queensland government, the state has doubled its use of solar energy in less than two years - more than three years ahead of schedule.

Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar Correspondent

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