The Swanbank E Power Station near Ipswich will start supplying power again on 1 January 2018, after Queensland Government-owned corporation Stanwell finalised an agreement for the supply of gas with Shell Australia.
Treasurer and Acting Minister for Energy, Curtis Pitt, said the Queensland Government’s $1.16 billion Powering Queensland Plan, which includes returning Swanbank E to service, will help ensure security of supply, drive down electricity costs and create jobs.
“Stanwell received a number of commercial offers for gas supply following the Queensland Government’s announcement in June 2017 that we would be firing the 385MW gas-fired plant back up again after the LNP mothballed it at the height of their asset sales frenzy which also resulted in the loss of 25 jobs,” Mr Pitt said.
“This strong response shows gas market players in Queensland are interested in doing business in the domestic market and have gas available, and I congratulate Shell Australia and Stanwell for closing the deal.”
Member for Bundamba, Jo-Ann Miller, said the recruitment drive for the 16 new positions at the plant was progressing well.
“So far Stanwell has nine confirmed acceptances and all of those are locals, which I’m thrilled about,” Ms Miller said.
“The first of the new employees are expected to begin work here in early October.
“Stanwell is still looking at applicants for the remaining outstanding positions and I’m hoping those winning applications will also come from the Ipswich region.”
Mr Pitt said bringing more supply to market to increase security and help drive down electricity costs was a key priority under the Powering Queensland Plan.
“This is action we are only able to take because we own our energy assets; it would not be possible under an LNP government because they would have sold them off, putting profits before people,” Mr Pitt said.
“Tim Nicholls and the LNP were responsible for 43 per cent electricity price increases during their term and in stark contrast, the Queensland Government has stabilised those out of control price rises and kept average household price increases to an average of just 1.9 per cent per year during our term.
“This includes using our public ownership to invest $770 million to shield Queenslanders from the price rises being felt across the country due to a broken National Electricity Market which means Queensland has the lowest electricity price increase this year of any mainland state.
“These increases nationwide are due to a tightening supply-demand balance within the National Electricity Market, and a lack of coherent and integrated national energy and climate policy which has prevented industry from investing in much needed generation to increase supply.”
Test runs at Swanbank E are scheduled for November and December 2017.