Queensland Labor has promised to help shift the state’s islands, particularly those dotted along the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef, to a mix of low-carbon energy generation – including wind and solar – if it wins the November 25 election.
Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk said on Wednesday that her government would provide $1.73 million in funding to assist these islands to develop business cases for solar, wind and gas generation, if it was re-elected.
Palaszczuk said the islands – which contribute $6 billion in state tourism and support more than 60,000 jobs – would also be able to access government expertise to determine the right mix of energy for their particular situation.
“The isolated nature of these island communities means the companies that own them have typically sourced their electricity from diesel generators,” she said.
The commitment is the latest of a string of renewable energy-based promises by Queensland Labor, which has already committed to a renewable energy target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030, and net zero emissions by 2050.
Most recently, the Palaszczuk government made a $151.6 million commitment to support new large-scale renewable generation and solar in Queensland schools. And before election campaigning formally started, it unveiled a suite of new policies opening the way for thousands more homes – including the largely untapped rental market – to gain access to rooftop solar and battery storage and cut their electricity bills.
The new policies, a part of the Palaszczuk government’s $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan, offer no-interest loans to consumers wishing to invest in rooftop solar and battery storage, but lacking the up-front capital to do so.
They will also work to give landlords and renters equal access to solar, through a trial initially involving 1000 rental households. Queensland energy minister Mark Bailey said the rental solar scheme had the potential to save tenants up to 10 per cent off their annual bill, or up to $150 a year, while landlords could get a rebate of up to $520 per year.