City-centric academics drown out rural voice

THERE is no regional or rural representation on the Queensland Government's newly appointed Renewable Energy Taskforce.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey on Wednesday conceded the five-member panel was city-centric, but he said the taskforce's final recommendations would deliver benefits for people living outside of metropolitan areas.

Mr Bailey said the government was committed to having large energy projects, particularly solar farms, operating across regional Queensland.

He said country communities were keen to get on board the renewable energy train and this was evidenced by a solid response to Ergon Energy's recent expression of interest for projects in the sector.

Ideas put forward included wind farms at Mount Emerald and Forsayth, solar farms at Collinsville, Clare, Cooktown and Lilyvale and a biomass project at Mount Cotton.

Mr Bailey said the taskforce would aim to "investigate and identify ways" for the government to roll out its statewide 50% renewable energy target by 2030.

"This panel deliberately has a strong business and commercial focus... because we're serious about the commercial opportunities available in this area for Queensland," he said.

The panel will also look at how the state can reach its target of one million solar rooftops or 3000 megawatts of solar generation capacity by 2020 and promoting long-term commercial and consumer benefits.

Chaired by infrastructure expert and retired investment banker Colin Mugglestone, the panel will consult with consumer groups, householders, peak energy industry representatives, energy businesses and unions.

It will deliver its final report by year's end.

Mr Mugglestone said the panel would reflect the views of regional and urban Queenslanders.


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