Queensland’s Energy Minister Mark Bailey yesterday announced in a media release that “A formidable team of business, energy, and environmental experts will lead the public inquiry into establishing Queensland’s 50% renewable energy target by 2030.” Being led by a former Macquarie investment banker, the team certainly has some claim to being labelled formidable, but it will struggle with the task set for it by the Government, to “investigate and identify the pathway to adopting the target.” The problem the Taskforce faces is that there is no credible path for Queensland achieving this target by 2030. My strong feeling is that this is not enough time for the more than 5X increase in renewable energy generation required, even if one makes optimistic assumptions about the uptake of battery technology to store solar energy captured from rooftops.
Of course, the Government probably does not even care its target is unachievable, as there is only the remotest possibility it will still be in power in 2030. It appears to have set an unachievable feel good target for political purposes, knowing it will not be held accountable for missing the target in 2030. I actually hope the Government is this cynical, because it means they are less likely to enact costly policies (e.g. solar power subsidies) in pursuit of the ridiculous 50% target.
Finally, another major problem is that the Government is assuming its 50% renewable energy target is desirable in the first place, that it helps us meet our energy needs in the most cost-effective way (accounting for externalities such as any greenhouse gas-induced climate change, of course). I cannot find any research produced by or commissioned by the Government that proves this is the case. The Government needs to make a much stronger case for its renewable energy target, particularly given it goes far beyond the 20% target (for 2020) that was once set at the national level.