Energy in a changing climate: what is the future of energy use in Queensland?

QLD government commits to rooftop solar and renewable energy target

At a well attended meeting at the Moorooka Bowls Club in Brisbane last night, organised by the Qld Conservation Council, the Qld Minister for Energy and Water Supply, Mark Bailey, committed his government to have one million homes with roof top solar power by 2020.

The minister also announced a renewable energy target of 50% in Qld by 2030.

Here is an unedited recording of the forum.

Notes of Meeting organised by Qld Conservation Council on Electricity and Climate Change.

Chairperson of the forum was Nicky Hungerford from the Qld Conservation Council [and co-author of “UpRiver: untold stories of the Franklin River Activists”]


Mark Bailey Minister for Energy & Water Supply,

Karen McLeod – Ethical Investment advisor 07 3333 2187 Level 1 189 Oxford Street Bulimba 4171 PO Box 824 Bulimba 4171

John Grimes – Solar Council

Larissa Waters – Greens Senator for Qld

Intro by Nicky Hungerford QCC

  • Switch to Green Electricity.
  • Qld coal mines – job numbers low
  • California – 25% sustainable electricity
  • 385,000 householders have solar.


Mark Bailey – worked with QCC on anti-uranium mining campaign and with environment groups – change of govt. made history by saying to the LNP  “your agenda does not reflect our values.”

Demand for solar resilient in the marketplace – a state govt to show leadership in this regard – work with renewable industry. The LNP govt of Bjelke-Petersen 2.0 lost three years in this area. Climate change not a left/right divide – In Germany, Angela Merkel a conservative is doing good work. Evidence based policy.


  • 1 Million solar rooftops
  • 50% renewable energy target in Qld by 2030.

Talk with productivity commission about a fair price for solar – what does that mean for the feed in tariff [anywhere from 8 cents to 30 cents]?

Engaging with solar with national conference in Melbourne. Let Local govt. contest.

Wind farm at Mt Emerald 225 MW clean energy. Abbott does not know about it. Deliberately tried to spike renewal energy. Investment plunged by 88% under Abbott. Emissions increased. Killing jobs and investment.

Larissa Waters – environmental defenders office – right to refuse shale and coal seam gas from their property.

Federal level – complete change in direction needed – The Large-scale Renewable Energy Target LRET includes legislated annual targets which will require significant investment in new renewable energy generation capacity in coming years. The large-scale targets ramp up until 2020 when the target will be 41,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity generation. Meanwhile federal govt. is proposing burning native forests – lost the carbon price policy with change of government 1 1/2 years ago. G7 will agree to phase out fossil fuels by end of century. Pressure on federal govt from Greens in senate – move to 100% renewal – 90 % by 2030. Geothermal, wave and tidal. Prism of economics. Agricultural production bigger than coal mining. Wisdom and ingenuity of human kind. Hope & optimism.

Call on Qld Govt to have a re-think of galilee basin coal deposits. Don’t need more exports. Call on support for Abbott Point development to be postponed.


Need better public transport system – invest

Reasonably priced Feed in tariff

Protection of Barrier Reef

Karen McLeod – ethical investment advisor –

Not used to speaking with professional speaking like Larissa Waters and Mark Bailey, speak mainly with clients … super and investment world. Divestments and reason why … skip thru … Norweigan investment fund is going to from fossil fuels … G7 Origin energy energy come out to support solar on roofs.

Academically – Masters thesis on Divestments – financial serices invested in resources.

In Balanced fund 4% in fossil fuels – BHP Billiton.

Smart metering … data … monitoring. Google investing in renewables. [Apple Mac exploitation in China – mining rare earth metals – ].

Innovational Hub – engineering – renewables – Joe Hockey changed rules relating to crowd funding via equity and get share holding ASIC to progress that. Social outcomes … businesses staying onshore … ASX top 20 resources – USA has Health Care companies in top 20 – Aust need bigger mix in top 10

John Grimes – formed coalition of QCC, QCU, Solar Energy Council.

Influenced election outcomes – talking about positive things – save the planet

Resonates with self-funded retirees. Monopoly business – self-funded retirees don’t have a voice. The financing of electricity generation is played by insiders for insider outcomes. Power Bills doubled – people on fixed and limited income can’t afford electricity prices. Public support for renewables and energy storage. Minister consulting with industry. Power companies are in control – if privatised that would not be under public control. Call for Sustainable long term FIT . .. 40MW solar farm instead of big new coal powered station near T’vlle.

ACT 90% by 2020

Government should adopt 100% by 2020 as national policy. Democracy in action.

[What about Water supply? Big floods produce cataclysm?]



Question: when solar tariff came in 40 cents – was that excessive?

Answer: Mark Bailey said reflected need to get infrastructure in place … new tech has ups and downs.

Question: Encouraged by speakers … networks not privatised so that we can adapt to new technologies – enable networks to change?

Answer: – battery technology .. another step … utilty in NZ licenced dealer in batteries… solar 24 hours of power .. investment in networks …

Karen McLeod … solar uptake .. $600B in investments … Trustee of super funds

Larissa Waters – companies profiteering … netwrk gold plating and blaming solar roof tops.

Luke Reid – community renewables – grants in NSW & Vic & Ger – FIT for community grps – grants? Going off grid wasting an opportunity?

Answer: – Mark Bailey community grants – solar panels – will consider – no policy however good record.

Larissa Waters – fair price – going off grid – just taken over portfolio from Christine Milne. 10% lost in distribution – local is best. Abbott to save poor Indians – don’t have a netwrk – not the solution to poverty.

John Grimes – The grid is good – need smart grid. Not a dumb 1950s distribution system .. want light to come at low cost. Demand pricing will drive people off-grid. Big business opportunity – need a new business model?

Ted Pensin – reg environ council – Call (to account) in Sunshine Cost and Jimboomba power line gold plating?

Mark Bailey – Logan Jimboomba genuine load issues – strong research for load shedding.

Question: – Qld Greens – inevitavble cont growth in solar … lower socio economic grs left behind – fixed costs stay the same. Can’t afford it cos people have jumped off the grid. Issue raised by pro fossils fuel lobby … what about the poor people?

Answer: – sJohn Grimes agree … policy targeted at low income grps – encourage Qld Govt is thinking about this. Landlords bundle electricity in with rent … some apartments can’t have solar.

Mark Bailey – solar power stations sell power up front –

Question: – comment about young innovators – experienced first hand – hydrogen storage space (husband is an engineer)

Answer: investment appetite – start up capital stop young minds from going overseas – equity not available – US investment pick up ideas before Australian investment in start ups – our super fund. Superannuation is largest in the world. Innovation investment needed.

Larissa Waters – Carbon Price Greens – arena – renewable energy agency – 2nd stage Clean Energy Bank. Funding support on lending favourable terms. $717M … taxpayer $1 making $2.36.

R&D lowest for three decades. Tax incentives?

Mark Bailey – lost opportunities with solar with CN govt, this is where jobs are.

John – importance of public opinion – polls – top 30 issues – climate change at the bottom PUPW polls – Kioto protocol – not got far – telecommunication going gangbusters but CC is not going ahead. Public Opinion – doing a bad job – people there shrug question

Larissa Waters – public opinion – be very loud – 2 parties will listen at election time. Trust in politician at all time low – people listen to friends and workmates (not pollies). Courier Mail is a re-election pamphlet for LNP.

Mark Bailey – be active and not lose faith – power stations longer time frames whereas telecommunications.

Karen – telecommunications taking market share from Telstra …

Question: – dirty power plants – govt not selling power plant – how to divest without selling them

Answer: Larissa Waters many not GOCs – already privatised – merge and make more efficient. It comes down to how u deal with change – battery storage.

Woman in audience – close down the GOC power stations.

Question: Divestments – shld QIC divest from fossil fuels? GOC

Answer: – Write to them, sell what their holding – not gojg to sell – partial rollovers – chose another fund – pick other shares QIC investment arm. RFisk to not divesting – can’t force them. De-carbonise companies – origin.

Question: Super divesting as an investment fund – risk involved – risk to exclude the sector – not on benchmark. Why does it have to do with the largest companies.

Question: Super bench marking – plugging benchmarking. We are benchmark unaware. An industry problem.

Betty Young – what will happen to people in high rise? Lumbered with huge cost of electricity?

Answer: – John Grimes encourage grid to operate in optimal way .. grid as a back up. Confident we can – need right business model.

Question: Renewal energy –– what is greens policy for energy efficiency

Answer: Larissa Waters – easiest way – Beattie & Bligh free smart meter – energy wise systems – household programs – not sure they are still doing that? Energy Efficiency opportunities act. (federal legislation). [Carbon Tax?]

Question: Jan McNicol – Unisuper – downfall of the financial industry – tipping point – how to get them to divest.

Answer: Karen McLeod – trustees have fiduciary duty – they need to act in your best interests – Big investment advisors ?Bacon – have not considered climate change previously – trustees are now seeking advice from consultants in the industry. Things are changing. Unisuper – trustees are worried. Green bonds – ANZ. Smarter investors.

Question: Julie Divine – Logan – brown out – why isn’t logan a pilot project?

Answer: – higher solar uptakes –

John Grimes Public Interest Advocacy Centre – challenge decisions.

Recording, Notes and Photos by Ian Curr
June 2015

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