Spiralling electricity costs will continue – driven mostly by high costs of infrastructure and attempts to lower carbon emissions. To achieve an emissions reduction target of 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, the government has set a Renewable Energy Target of 23 per cent. The cost of setting this target will be reflected in higher electricity costs for households, which will hurt families, and for business, which will cost jobs. An even greater cost of pursuing ambitious renewable energy targets was revealed in South Australia, which relies on renewables such as wind and solar for 40% of its power, and households pay the highest electricity bills in Australia. The entire state was blacked out in 2016, costing business $367 million. Despite the South Australian lesson, Queensland’s Labor government has set a renewable energy target for the state of 50 per cent by 2030. This would require seven times the current renewable energy output to come on line in the next 13 years.
To keep family electricity bills affordable and to keep industry viable, the cost of electricity generation must be kept under control.
- An ultra supercritical coal-fired generator built near a coal mine in North Queensland would ensure lower power costs and greater energy security for the North.
- Australia needs to investigate opportunities for thorium reactors, which are safer than uranium-fuelled nuclear reactors (North Queensland is a source for both raw materials).
- Investment in future renewable energy generation should stand on its own, economically, without requiring government capital, subsidies, or incentives.