Oct 26, 2021


Oct 26, 2021

Queensland is none the wiser as to how it will meet the growing energy demand created by large-scale “green hydrogen” production, following a confusing response by Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni to calls for clarity from Katter’s Australian Party.

In a Question Without Notice delivered in the House today, KAP Leader Robbie Katter asked the Minister to show his hand on how the high electricity demands required to produce hydrogen – the Government’s energy ace card – would be met.

“Will the Minister commit to fast-tracking the CopperString 2.0 project to enable new energy production and grid capacity, then validating the claims of a hydrogen future?” Mr Katter asked in the House.

The Minister, who is captaining Queensland’s push to grow its renewables sector from 20 to 50 per cent total energy production in the next 10 years, said the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s plan was to “invest in renewable energy”.

He did not say how taxpayer-subsided renewable energy, currently sitting at 20 per cent of total energy supply, would meet growing demands in place of gas or coal.

Minister de Brenni also did not clarify how any renewable energy produced in North West Queensland, which has an abundance of solar and wind resources, would be fed into the national grid without CopperString 2.0.

Currently the North West, including the Mount Isa region which is one of the richest mineral-producing regions in the world, is not connected to the national electricity market.

The region is electrified by a single gas-fired power station that has a market monopoly, significantly limiting expansion opportunities for the mining and energy sectors.

CopperString 2.0 seeks to connect the region to the grid.

Mr Katter said rural and regional Queenslanders were deeply confused by what the Government’s plans for tackling clime change would mean for their communities.

He said the regions could not bear the brunt of policy shifts, and that the agricultural and mining sectors had to be protected now and into the future.

Following news at the weekend that the Nationals had backed a Liberal and Labor push for the nation to adopt a “Net Zero by 2050” energy policy, the KAP has called for immediate action to benefit regional Queensland.

Their priorities include:

– Fast-tracking of approvals and, where appropriate, additional financial investment in the CopperString 2.0 Project to support a greater supply of critical minerals and expand the State’s electricity, which will be needed to meet growing energy demands related to the production of “green hydrogen”;

– Immediate investment in the bio-fuels sector in Queensland, with a particular focus on providing additional income streams for sugar cane farmers, and a commitment to increase the State’s ethanol mandate to 10 per cent;

– A commitment from all levels of Government not to impede on, or allow corporates to impede on, the mining and export of Australian coal for as long as there is international demand for it.

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has also called for clarity from Minister de Brenni in regards to the Government’s plans to protect the State’s energy supply from foreign interests.

Mr Dametto said he was concerned that, with the majority of Queensland’s power currently provided by Government-owned corporations such as Stanwell and CS Energy, any significant changes to this model could impact asset and supply security.

“This is particularly with regards to investment in our energy production by foreign powers, some of which are massive players in the renewable energy space,” he said.

“Any transfer of ownership of supply from the Government to private entities is a risk, and we need the Minister to promise that there will be no sell-off by stealth.”