Queensland to shut coal plants by 2035


Queensland, one of Australia's biggest coal-producing states, announced on Sep. 28 an A$ 62 billion ($40 billion) clean energy plan to end its reliance on fossil fuels and convert its coal-fired power stations to renewable hubs by 2035.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland would source 70% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2032 and 80% by 2035, compared to the previous goal of 50% by 2030.

The 10-year plan was the “biggest commitment to renewable energy in Australia's history,” said Palaszczuk in a statement, adding that the plan includes an A$ 150 million support package for affected workers.

Additionally, Queensland will build the world’s largest dam and pumped hydropower project in the Pioneer Valley near Mackay. Scheduled to complete in 2035, the project would store 5 GW of renewable energy, supplying half of Queensland's future energy needs.

The plan also includes a new supergrid connecting solar, wind, battery and hydrogen generators across the state that unlocks 22 GW of new renewable capacity, eight times current levels.

Eight coal-fired power plants in Queensland, some of which won't shut down until the 2040s, would remain as backup until pumped hydro energy storage came online.

The total planned investment out to 2035 would be shared between the public and private sectors. The decisions come a week after three South Korean groups announced that they intended to develop a green energy export hub in Queensland with the goal of producing 1 million tonnes of green ammonia, which is seen as a crucial coal substitute, annually for export by 2032.

Queensland’s clean energy goals also are in line with the federal Labor government’s commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Australia's Clean Energy Council, the peak body for the renewable energy industry, described Queensland’s goal as “bold and revolutionary.” It may reduce the state's electrical sector's greenhouse gas emissions by 90% from 2005 levels by 2035–2036.

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