The Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palasczcuk, was promoting green energy at the Clare Solar Farm. Resources Minister Matt Canavan calculates the astonishing waste: “The Clare Solar Farm stands to get something like $340 million in subsidies over the next 13 years for 5 jobs! That works out at $60 million a job.”
The Queensland Premier was at the Clare Solar Farm on Sunday promoting renewables jobs. Here are a few facts about the Clare Solar Farm.
1. The Clare Solar Farm once operational will employ “up to around 5 people” according to their website.
2. The Clare Solar Farm stands to get something like $340 million in subsidies over the next 13 years (paid through by higher power bills) for 5 jobs! That works out at $60 million a job.
3. The Clare Solar Farm is owned by a Saudi billionaire, Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel. I have nothing against billionaires (or Saudis for that matter) but I have noted that the Premier has something against Indian billionaires, specifically the one that owns Adani.
4. The Adani mine will generate 10,000 jobs and, even if they are provided a $1 billion loan (not a subsidy!), that works out at $100,000 a job. That is a little bit cheaper than $60 million a job. And remember this is a loan that will be paid back not a subsidy!
5. Guess which of these projects the Premier has decided to veto? I will give you a hint, it is the one that the Premier’s partners the Greens don’t like.
The Clare Solar Farm will be a 150MW solar farm 35 kilometers from Ayr in Queensland.
While it provides 200 jobs in construction once these are gone, the project’s website says that “During operation up to around 5 jobs will be created.”
In theory, a 150MW solar farm could produce 1,314,000 MWh / year. That is worked out by 150MW x 24 hours in a day x 365 days a year. In practice, solar farms run at best 25% capacity factor (because of night, clouds, etc). So let’s put Clare’s electricity production at a generous 328,500 MWh / year = 1,314,000 MWh x 25%. This means that each year the Clare Solar Farm will generate 328,500 large scale Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) under the Renewable Energy Target. RECs are currently retailing for just over $80 / MWh which means that each year this project will get 328,500 x $80 = $26 million in subsidies each year.
These subsidies are paid by increasing your power bills.
The Renewable Energy Target runs until 2030 and the Clare Solar Farm hopes to be producing power by the end of the year. That means that it will get 13 years worth of subsidies. All up then that’s $341 million in subsidies paid through your power bill. Remember those 5 jobs – I have been told it’s 2 gardeners, 2 security guys, and a panel operator. So we are getting 5 jobs for $341 million. It is only $60 million per job.
Note some greenies will argue that my $80 per REC is too high and that REC prices will come down over the next decade. Last time I checked though accountancy rules mean you have to value things at market value and that is the market value of RECs at the moment. Regardless though even if you say that the REC price will be half that amount, a quarter or heck even a tenth, we are still talking millions of dollars of subsidies per job. On any measure this is madness!
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