Solar will generate Queensland's next economic boom

"I think the next great round of investment in Queensland will be utility-scale solar," Origin Energy Managing Director Grant King told a CEDA audience in Brisbane.

Mr King said Queensland could become a global energy superpower because of the state's multi-billion dollar coal seam gas to liquefied natural gas (CSG-LNG) industry as well as its potential for utility-scale solar power plants.
"Just as Queensland has become the centre of LNG production, it will become the centre for utility-scale solar,” he said.

Mr King said about 250 large 40-megawatt utility-scale solar projects would be needed to meet Australia's "very significant" renewable energy target of 33,000 gigawatt hours by 2020.

“Even more if we’re going to meet the carbon emission reduction target of 26 per cent by 2030,” he said.

“That’s an extraordinary ambition that will require extraordinary levels of activity and investment from the private sector.

“And in order to do that, you need a little bit of confidence that the structures that are put in place will sustain – that you can rely on them.”

He said that Queensland is well placed to help reduce carbon emissions on a global scale. The state's carbon-emitting industries such as LNG and coal would help with that by exporting more efficient products to replace dirty brown coal currently used by industrial powerhouses such as China.

He said that carbon intensity versus GDP is a better, more realistic measure of effective policy than carbon emissions per capita, which, when applied to Australia, misrepresents our situation.

“The energy industry’s priority is to ensure a continued reliable and affordable supply of energy on a sustainable basis,” he said.

“The reduction of carbon is a very important task.

"But it’s a practical problem for practical people and it is not made easier, in fact it is made harder, when it is shrouded in all these ideological views.

“We need to strike a balance between the energy use that drives economic wellbeing and underpins our quality of life, and the environmental outcomes.

“Every country’s ultimate aim is the trifecta of economic growth plus reduction in emissions plus reduction in emissions intensity.”