Queensland companies confident in clean energy

Queensland resources companies are ready and willing to transition to renewable energy as long as regulation and technology allow for it, according to a new report.

The Queensland Resources Council’s (QRC) State of the Sector report for the March 2021 quarter surveyed its full member chief executive officers (CEOs) and received more than 20 responses from members in mining, energy, processing, contracting and exploration.

The results found that 22 per cent of CEOs currently use renewable energy to power parts of their operations and 65 per cent expect to continue investing in reducing emissions over the next 12 months.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said these companies were working hard to find the rewards that await them in a clean-energy future.

“Queensland resources companies are working hard to lower emissions and reduce costs by improving energy efficiency, adopting renewable energy and investing in co-generation or the latest low-emission research,” Macfarlane said.

“Our goal is to work towards a sustainable resources sector that produces a mix of traditional and renewable energy, along with the raw materials to achieve that.”

The report used mining companies Coronado Global Resources and Sojitz as examples of the state’s potential for a clean energy transition, with both companies suggesting or acting on their sustainability goals.

“In May, Coronado said it is ‘assessing options’ for a ‘behind the meter’ type solar farm and opportunities to harvest incidental coal seam gas (fugitive emissions – Scope 1) to generate electric power on site at Curragh,” the report stated citing Coronado’s Sustainability Report.

“Meanwhile, QRC member Sojitz, together with ENEOS, recently announced the construction of a 204-megawatt solar farm at Edenvale, 300 kilometres west of Brisbane,” the report continued.

A jump in the number of CEOs currently investing in or undertaking research and development of low emissions technology was also found in the report – from 40 per cent in 2019, to 71 per cent in 2020.

This aligned with Macfarlane’s comments on the state’s progress towards electrification.

“Many of our company’s compressor stations, conveyor belts, draglines, grinding mills and reverse osmosis plants are already electrified,” he said.

“Our CEOs are telling us they’re considering everything from green power contracts to battery-operated underground vehicles as a way to reduce their carbon footprint.”

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