Bidders left in the dark over renewable energy initiatives
Bidders left in the dark over renewable energy initiatives

Government stalls on renewable power plan

TWO key planks of the Palaszczuk Government's clean energy evolution have languished in limbo for almost two years, casting doubts over its plans for 50 per cent renewable power use by 2030.

Dozens of proponents for the Government's Renewables 400 initiative, a reverse auction to build 400 megawatts of clean energy and storage solutions, have been waiting since September 2017 to hear back about their bids.

Expressions of interest in the Government's Clean Energy Hub, a $150 million plan to connect north Queensland renewable projects to the electricity grid, also closed in September 2017 but the project has not progressed.

Both projects are integral to the Government's plan to double Queensland's power generation capacity so the state is using 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

However, they shape as a major drain on Queensland's cash-strapped budget which has been hit by flood recovery costs, shrinking stamp duty returns and a string of unfunded commitments.

Prominent north Queensland businessman John O'Brien, whose CopperString 2.0 proposal would link Mt Isa to the national electricity grid via a $1 billion transmission line, said his project could help kickstart the Clean Energy Hub.

"By linking in the North West Minerals Province via CopperString 2.0 we can deliver economic and jobs growth in traditional value-adding industries as well as environmental benefits that the Government is seeking with its Powering North Queensland Plan," he said.

Mr O'Brien said the Clean Energy Hub was a "fantastic vision" but may not be viable without his project creating additional demand from Mt Isa.

Energy Minister Anthony Lynham. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt
Energy Minister Anthony Lynham. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

Energy Minister Anthony Lynham did not explain the cause of the long delays but insisted the Government remained committed to both projects.

"We will soon run our Renewables 400 reverse auction, seeking proponents to supply another 400 megawatts of renewable energy," he said.

"In regard to the Clean Energy Hub more than 30 expressions of interest were taken in seeking market information on potential generation and energy storage options and to understand the load requirements in the region.

"The Government is now considering the advice before proceeding to an investment decision for the project."