Queensland has overtaken NSW as the leading state for renewables jobs, with 20 large-scale projects underway in August creating jobs equal to employing 5203 people full time for a year, according to the latest Renewable Energy Index.
This is the first time Queensland has taken over NSW, which created 3426 job-years of employment.
The news was jumped on by the state government, which used it to call out Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for failing to reform the national energy market.
“It would be good if the Prime Minister acknowledged that Queensland is leading the nation in renewables investment and energy pricing outcomes,” Queensland treasurer and acting energy minister Curtis Pitt said.
“The Prime Minister, on his visit to Queensland, is continuing to offer no real solutions to end the policy uncertainty and high electricity prices plaguing the nation.”
Mr Pitt said he welcomed the report conducted by Green Energy Markets.
“This level of investment is unprecedented and I’m proud to be part of a government that kick-started the industry in Queensland after not one large scale renewable energy project was built during the previous LNP government,” he said.
“As at 30 August, 2017 – there are 20 financially committed large scale renewable projects in the pipeline worth $3.4 billion, with a generating capacity of 1781 megawatts and supporting 2773 construction jobs, however the broader pipeline of proposed projects is 40 projects, worth $5 billion, with a generating capacity of 5297MW and 9245 jobs.”
- See our recent special report on Queensland’s struggle for sustainability
Rooftop solar still strong
Queensland also produced 1287 full-time jobs in solar rooftop installation, with a total of 1799MW of solar PV in the network.
“Solar PV costs are continuing to decline which is a likely contributor in the continual uptake of solar,” Mr Pitt said.
Two big solar PV projects recently announced are at the University of Southern Queensland and Brisbane Airport.
Brisbane Airport goes for Southern Hemisphere gold
At Brisbane Airport, a massive 6MW system was announced this month, which will feature about 22,000 panels over 36,000 square metres across six sites – capable of generating more than 9.315 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year.
The international terminal alone will feature a 1.98MW system, with 7133 panels over 11,675 sq m, which the airport said made it the largest commercial rooftop solar system in the Southern Hemisphere.
Brisbane Airport Corporation general manager assets Krishan Tangri said electricity was one of the biggest expenses for the company.
“We are in the enviable position of having thousands of square metre of unimpeded roof space ideal for solar harvesting and, with systems becoming more efficient and more affordable to install, it makes financial sense to invest in this readily available supply of renewable energy to save costs and decrease our carbon footprint.”
He said the system would cover 18 per cent of BAC’s direct electricity consumption, or six per cent of total consumption.
Design is currently underway with installation expected to commence from December 2017 and completed in August 2018.
USQ adds more solar
At USQ this month 1198 solar panels (about 500kW) were installed on building rooftops across the Springfield and Ipswich campuses, which will see a minimum of 586,949 kilowatt hours of electricity generated a year.
The installation is part of a $6.1 million, two-megawatt Sustainable Energy Solution project.
USQ vice-chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said the project would save the university up to $3.5 million over the 25 year life of the solar panels and also provide “valuable research, learning and teaching opportunities for our students and academics”.
Stage one of the Sustainable Energy Solution project was completed in June and featured more than 3800 solar panels installed over the largest carpark at USQ Toowoomba. The 1.09 megawatt array is Australia’s largest integrated solar carpark array.
Overall, renewable energy made up 19.5 per cent of energy generated across Australia in August, with 56 large-scale projects estimated to create enough jobs to employ 11,941 people full-time for a year.