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Queensland Election: Changes in Power

During the Queensland state election, energy has not been such a large issue, as it has in previous elections. The focus in this election was on the marginal seats outside Brisbane, mainly around regional projects in areas such as, Central Queensland and Townsville. The CopperString projects became a prominent discussion topic.

Following the retirement of the energy minister, Hon Dr Anthony Lynham MP, Queensand is in for a new energy minister.

Yesterday, Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a Queensland Cabinet reshuffle. Mick de Brenni will now take up the responsibility of energy, as the Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement. Currently Mick is the Minister for Housing and Public Works as well as Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport.

The new Minister will be tasked with the COVID-19 economic recovery, so it makes sense that energy and public works are in the same portfolio.

Prior to the election the LNP was looking at splitting up Stanwell, CS Energy and CleanCo but, now it looks like the government owned corporation will remain intact with the relaxation of mandates with Stanwell and CS Energy now able to join CleanCo in developing renewable projects then it make economic sense.

The ALP remains committed to 50% renewables by 2030 and has already committed $500 million to its renewable energy plan. Its COVID-19 economic recovery plan added $145 million of support for the development of three renewable energy zones in north, central and south-west Queensland.

Labor is also committed to the implementation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) for existing coal fired power stations and will not approve new fossil fueled power stations without deploying full CCS.

The ALP is looking at public-private partnerships through its government owned corporations to assist in the public investment in large scale storage such as the Kidston pump storage hydro plant in North West Queensland.

The Hydrogen industry development fund has been topped up with an additional $10M on top of the $15M added to the fund in 2019. An extra $30M has been pledged for an energy efficiency project in hospitals and health facilities.

As Townsville was a fiercely contested seat during the election, it has resulted in the CopperString transmission project gaining support from both sides of politics. The ALP is likely to assist with more than $10M. Townsville may also be in for a Battery manufacturing plant with a feasibility study being kicked off.