Department of Environment and Science commits to net zero emissions by 2030

Mon Repos solar array…

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) is committed to demonstrating climate action leadership. That’s why we’ve set a target of net zero emissions by 2030 for our departmental operations, which is well in advance of Queensland’s interim target of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

We are minimising our own carbon footprint and developing detailed knowledge on how carbon is captured and stored across 12.9 million hectares of national park estate to facilitate carbon sequestration and storage.

The department has already committed to achieving carbon neutrality in our national parks as part of Queensland’s Protected Area Strategy. Now we are extending that commitment to the whole department’s operations, and aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2030 at the latest.

    Solar installations

    We have made good progress already, with solar power on DES buildings increasing nearly 10-fold in the last two years.

    Total DES photovoltaic (PV) solar power (kW)
    Date installed Total PV solar power (kW)
    2013-06-03 50.184
    2018-01-18 76.184
    2018-03-04 80.184
    2018-08-01 110.184
    2019-05-01 120.084
    2020-01-01 126.564
    2020-04-30 148.564
    2020-07-08 154.564
    2020-08-01 199.564
    2020-09-01 242.564
    2020-11-01 326.564
    2021-02-01 406.044
    2021-06-01 477.984
    2021-07-01 577.884
    2021-10-01 677.884
    2022-03-01 702.884
    2022-04-01 928.884
    2022-05-01 1018.884
    2022-05-24 1020.214
    Map of photovoltaic systems across QueenslandOpen larger image

    Map of Queensland showing locations and sizes (kW) of DES PV systems

    Two of our largest installations to date are at the Mon Repos Turtle Centre, and the Queensland Herbarium at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. As well as these large, grid-connected systems, remote-area solar power systems in ranger stations across the state are reducing emissions from diesel generators.

    Renewable electricity

    As well as installing our own solar panels, the department will ensure that 100% of the electricity we purchase and use will be from renewable sources.

    Vehicle fleet

    As part of Queensland’s new Zero Emission Vehicle Strategy, we are progressively upgrading our leased vehicle fleet to move towards zero emission options as suitable vehicles become available.

    So far, we have transitioned most of our small and medium sized leased vehicles to electric or electric/hybrid models. In accordance with the Strategy, we will transition all small/medium sized leased vehicles to electric variants by the end of 2025. All new leases will be for electric vehicles where a suitable model exists in that vehicle category.

    In the rugged environment of our national parks, safety and fire-capability are critical. We are pro-actively working with the Department of Energy and Public Works and vehicle manufacturers to identify suitable zero emissions vehicles to replace larger operational Utes and 4x4s.

    Carbon stores and offsets

    Our national parks and other land holdings are already absorbing significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and represent a massive carbon store. We will continue to secure these carbon stores for the long term. At the same time, we will explore opportunities to increase our carbon sequestration to offset any remaining emissions.

    Photo looking up to tall white tree trunks

    K’gari (Fraser Island), Great Sandy National Park