Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a $2 billion investment fund for renewable storage, energy and hydrogen projects across the state.

The fund will be used to finance a clean hydrogen industry, mining operations for solar panel materials, the emerging electric vehicle industry and increased manufacturing of green energy products. The Premier described the announcement as a “watershed moment” for the state’s economic development.

The Premier added that the fund would include $500 million to drive publicly-owned renewables linked to local manufacturing.

“That means not just mining the minerals for batteries and renewables in Queensland – it means processing the minerals and making batteries here as well,” she said.

“I want to see hydrogen electrolysers built locally and local assembly of wind turbines and solar panels because that means local jobs.”

Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the investment could create new manufacturing industries and jobs in the state.

“There is no reason why solar panels, electrolysers, batteries, wind farm components and new technology can’t be manufactured right here,” he said.

Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) calls for the closure of the Callide power plant

QCC director Dave Copeman praised the Premier’s announcement, but wants to see the state double down and cancel repairs to the damaged Callide C power plant.

Around 500,000 homes and businesses lost power after a catastrophic turbine failure at the station outside Gladstone on May 18.

Mr Copeman said the QCC had been fighting hard for the $2 billion investment to become a reality through its involvement with the Queensland Community Alliance, which includes unions, faith groups and community and environmental organisations.

The QCC is also involved in the Powerup Qld campaign, aiming to have the entire state-run renewable energy resources by 2030. Mr Copeman said an essential step in that direction was to shelve plans to repair the Callide C power plant and focus on renewable energy instead.

“This is an important stepping stone, but the Powerup Qld campaign is not won yet,” he said.

“We must keep up the pressure. One of our key objectives for the next few months will be to convince the joint owners of Callide C, CS Energy and Intergen, as well as Energy Minister Mick de Brenni, not to rebuild the damaged Callide C4 unit that caught fire two weeks ago.

“Instead, they should invest the insurance payout on batteries and renewables that would reduce electricity prices and increase stability.”

The state government had previously announced the construction of Queensland’s largest battery storage facility at Wondoanin in the Western Downs region in response to the incident.

Mr Copeman also said that Powerlink CEO Paul Simshauser had announced the $2 billion fund would give Government-owned Corporations the sway they need to borrow up to $6 billion for future projects, bringing the total renewable investment in the state to $8 million. 

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