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Queensland to install batteries at coal plants

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Qld is putting renewable energy batteries into existing power plants, to create energy hubs. Photo: AAP
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Queensland will install renewable energy components at coal-fired power plants, but the state government is ambiguous about future plans for using fossil fuel electricity generation.

Energy Minister Mick De Brenni says adding battery storage and hydrogen production facilities to power plant sites will be in the government’s 10-year energy plan, due to be released this year.

He says the installations will create 48,000 construction jobs and help Queensland’s transition to net zero.

“So our existing power stations will become energy hubs,” Mr de Brenni told AAP.

“And so we’ll have our traditional turbines there, we’ll add to those synchronous condensers, we’ll have battery storage, hydrogen production, and a range of other services, to the broader energy system from those power stations.”

But minister wouldn’t say if or when fossil fuel generation will be phased out entirely, saying oil and gas will need to be in Queensland’s energy mix for some time to come.

“Of course, we’re already seeing a worldwide shift from fossil fuels, but the reality is they will continue to play a key role,” he said.

“We won’t be closing the gate on any of our traditional thermal generators.

“They will be continuing to perform an important function, varied functions into the future as they support the greater uptake of solar wind and initiatives like pump storage.”

The government wants 50 per cent of energy consumed to be renewable energy and to cut carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

Almost 80 per cent of energy currently comes from fossil fuel, while about 20 per cent comes from renewables.

Queensland’s wholesale electricity prices leapt to a record $283 per megawatt hour In May, and are the highest in the nation, with experts blaming its reliance on fossil fuel.

The state government is wiping about $14.60 off monthly household monthly bills this financial year, which are set to rise 10 per cent.

Queensland’s public coal and gas generators are forecast to rake in large dividends over the next two years, according to the state budget.

The government is spending twice as much on fossil fuel plants this year as it is on installing new renewable energy storage.

Mr de Brenni on Wednesday toured Australia’s first hydrogen refuelling station in the Brisbane suburb of Lytton.

The facility will open later this year with five of the state government’s hydrogen-powered Hyundai NEXO’s to use it.

BOC South Pacific managing driector John Evans said the refuelling station paves the way for more infrastructure to facilitate hydrogen trucks and buses.

– AAP