In response to the news that Rio Tinto has called for expressions of interest to develop large-scale wind and solar power in central and southern Queensland to power its aluminium production facilities, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Gladstone campaigner Jaclyn McCosker said:
“This is an important moment for Queensland, with the state’s biggest energy consumer indicating it is serious about using large-scale wind and solar to power its energy-hungry aluminium refineries and smelters.
“ACF welcomes this announcement and congratulates Rio Tinto for progressing its goal to cut emissions by 50% by 2030.
“Coupled with the news that Australia’s energy ministers have agreed to come up with a national transition plan to phase out fossil fuels, this marks a significant moment in Australian action to tackle climate change.
“Queensland can and should be a renewable energy superpower and central Queensland has all the ingredients to thrive in a low carbon world.
“While this private sector announcement is positive, we also need more action from the Queensland Government to manage the orderly closure of coal-fired power stations and facilitate a just transition plan for workers, their families and communities.
“With a federal target to cut climate pollution by 43% by 2030 and Rio Tinto taking the lead to repower some of Queensland’s most high-emitting projects, the Palaszczuk Government’s 30% by 2030 target is now untenable.
“As a custodian of the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics and the Gondwana rainforests, we urge the Queensland Government to lift its target and ambition on climate action.”