Palaszczuk Government powers up an energy and jobs bonanza
In a major pre-Budget announcement, the Palaszczuk Government is investing $1.16 billion to ensure affordable, secure and sustainable energy supply for Queensland homes, businesses and industry.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the Government’s Powering Queensland Plan – a roadmap to put downward pressure on electricity prices, power jobs and investment and lead the State’s transition to a low-carbon electricity sector.
“We know that rising wholesale prices and energy security have emerged as key issues in Australia over the last six months, driven by a lack of federal policy leadership undermining industry investment, gas supply restrictions in southern states, retirement of ageing coal-fired power stations and unprecedented demand during recent summer heatwaves,” the Premier said.
“That’s why last week my Government took swift action in response to the QCA’s regional price determination, investing $770 million to slash the price increase by more than half.
“My Government is committed to delivering stable electricity prices which have increased by just 1.9 per cent per year on average under our first term. This is in stark contrast to the 43 per cent increase inflicted by the Newman-Nicholls government over their term in office.
“We have used our public ownership of electricity assets to bring more supply into the market to reduce volatility and put downward pressure on wholesale prices, action would not have been possible if the LNP sold off these public assets.
“The Powering Queensland Plan – which includes the $386 million plan to strengthen and diversify North Queensland’s energy and water supply which I announced in Townsville on Friday – is by far the most comprehensive and decisive action by a State government to deal with Australia’s current energy crisis.”
Powering Queensland Plan
- Provide electricity price relief by investing $770m to cover the cost of the Solar Bonus Scheme
- Restart Stanwell Corporation’s 385 megawatt (MW) Swanbank E gas-fired power station
- Direct Stanwell Corporation to undertake strategies to place downward pressure on wholesale prices
- Investigate the restructure of the Government owned Corporation generators and potential establishment of ‘CleanCo’
- Deliver a $386m Powering North Queensland Plan to strengthen and diversify the north’s energy supply
- Establish Queensland Energy Security Taskforce which will implement outcomes of the Finkel Review which are accepted by Queensland, among other actions
- Confirm the government’s commitment to a 50 per cent renewable energy target
- Undertake a reverse auction for up to 400MW of renewable energy, including 100MW of energy storage
- Improve large-scale project facilitation, planning and network connections
- Implement the Queensland Gas Action Plan
- Continue to advocate for stable, integrated national climate and energy policies
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said Queensland has a highly secure energy supply, including the four youngest and cleanest coal-fired generators in the National Electricity Market; however ongoing vigilance is needed to ensure our future energy security.
“The Powering Queensland plan includes commissioning the Energy Security Taskforce – a team of experts to guide the state’s robust energy security for both the short and long-term which includes implementing the Finkel Review recommendations,” he said.
“The Taskforce will implement Finkel Review outcomes accepted by Queensland, providing options for maintaining system security and reliability to power our communities and industries with the energy and the jobs of the future.
“The Taskforce will be chaired by energy expert, Finkel Review panel member and former Energex Chief Executive Terry Effeney, and members include Professor Suzanne Miller, Queensland’s Chief Scientist as well as Mr Jim Murphy Queensland’s Under Treasurer and Professor Paul Simshauser Director-General of Queensland’s Department of Energy and Water Supply.”
Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the first priority for the Taskforce would be to work with Queensland’s energy businesses to ensure Queensland’s system remains secure during the high demand periods over the 2017–18 and 2018–19 summers.
“The Taskforce will also lead work into developing transmission infrastructure in Queensland’s North-West to support a clean energy hub, assess the need for expanded interconnection between Queensland and other states, and investigate new hydro-electric generation sites,” Mr Bailey said.
“The Palaszczuk Government is today releasing its response to the Renewable Energy Expert Panel Final Report and re-affirming our commitment to a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 (RET).
“The Expert Panel’s Final Report confirms its draft findings that the RET will deliver significant economic benefits to Queensland, with a broadly cost neutral impact on electricity prices while maintaining system security and reliability.
“On the basis of these recommendations, the Government will support investment for up to 400 megawatts of a diversified renewable energy capacity by providing revenue certainty through a reverse auction process, including a 100 megawatt energy storage component, with an emphasis on supporting local jobs and benefits”
Mr Bailey said the Powering Queensland Plan positions Queensland to ensure affordability, supporting industry and jobs as the State transitions to a clean energy economy.
“The Palaszczuk Government will continue to work at the national level to support integrated policy, but in the absence of federal leadership we will not stand idly by and ignore the challenges facing the market,” he said.
“The Powering Queensland plan is firm action to ensure we continue to meet Queensland’s current and future energy needs.”
For more information visit www.dews.qld.gov.au