Emission Control: Queensland bulks up fund to super-power renewables sector
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Emission Control wraps all the fortnightly news driving ASX stocks with exposure to renewable energy
Queenslanders needed a pick me up after their sobering hammering at the hands of New South Wales in this week’s State of Origin opener.
With the Palaszczuk government in budget mode, Maroon solar, wind and hydrogen investors at least will be happy this week to hear their state will quadruple the scale of its renewable and hydrogen fund, pumping it up to a total of $2 billion.
Queensland Labor will also develop a 10-year green energy plan for the state.
“By 2050, the world will be looking for more than 500 million tonnes of hydrogen every year, and we want to make sure Queenslanders get decent, secure jobs supplying it,” Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said.
“There is no reason why solar panels, electrolysers, batteries, wind farm components and new technology can’t be manufactured right here in Queensland.
“This fund will create a pipeline of demand for local manufacturing across the entire value chain, and that means more jobs for Queenslanders.”
Just 16% of the coal mining state’s power needs were filled from renewable sources in 2020, with only natural gas rich WA (12%) and Northern Territory (5%) lower.
Its share of gas in the network grew with the fire and outage at the Callide coal fired power station last month, figures show.
Renewables accounted for around 28 per cent of the national electricity market in the first quarter of 2021, although some states are moving faster than others, with hydro-powered Tasmania (98%) and South Australia (58%) the leaders in the race to replace non-renewable power sources with renewables.
There is no shortage of players looking to exit the Australian renewables market, in part because of policy support concerns.
But on the flipside, plenty of significant companies are looking to establish or expand their renewables footprint, and a swathe of asset sales across the solar and wind industries have been among the biggest green stories this week.
New Energy Solar (ASX: NEW) parted ways with its Australian wind farms at Beryl and Manildra, selling them to Thai coal miner Banpu Energy, which like many other fossil fuel plays, is aiming to enter the new energy space as well.
NEW want to focus on the rising US renewables market, while Kiwi renewables major Meridian Energy (ASX: MEZ) is also considering selling its Australian power and retail business.
Private equity plays Denham Capital and Elliott Management have a For Sale sign on their Australian portfolios, among a cavalcade of other deals in the renewables space.
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Want to know what impact the ripples around the green hydrogen wave are having in the market?
Check out the space’s biggest winner over the past year in the form of former minerals explorer Province Resources (ASX: PRL).
Province is down 26% over the past month and 14% over the past week, with little news to report since banking $18 million in a capital raising – not a bad pull for a company of its size.
But that has come off the back of a stunning six-month rise of 958% (608% for the year) to a market cap of around $155.6 million.
The company’s rapid rise can be attributed to its early mover acquisition of a mineral sands and green hydrogen project in WA in February, following which it sealed an MoU to link up with French power provider Total Eren, a global subsidiary of energy major Total which operates renewable power assets in Victoria.
Last month Province’s David Frances said the sun and wind-soaked location for Province’s HyEnergy project near Carnarvon would be ideal for a green hydrogen development.
“Location, location, location. To produce world class renewable energy, you need a world class location,” Frances told Stockhead.
“Also, partners. The project area is attractive, and Total Eren can see that.
“There are also massive tailwinds to get these [green hydrogen] projects up at the moment.”
Battery tech plays Australian Vanadium (ASX: AVL), which wants to incorporate green hydrogen power into a proposed vanadium development, and Redflow (ASX: RFX) were this week’s biggest climbers at 15% and 14%, respectively.