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Queensland’s new publicly-owned clean energy generator, CleanCo, has started work in the National Energy Market, in the hopes of pushing power prices down using Queensland’s strengths in renewable energy.

The establishment of a third publicly-owned generator focused on low and zero-emission power delivers on the Queensland Government commitment at the 2017 election.
Speaking at CleanCo’s pumped hydro-electric power station at Wivenhoe Dam, Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer, Jackie Trad, said CleanCo would drive competition to reduce wholesale electricity prices and ultimately deliver savings on power bills.

“From today, CleanCo has 1,114MW of dedicated clean energy generation assets in Queensland hands,” Ms Trad said.

With its mandate to build, own and operate low-emission generators, CleanCo will support jobs in the growing renewable energy sector, put downward pressure on prices through increased competition and help drive Queensland towards its target of 50 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030.

“Preliminary analysis forecasts CleanCo should save $70 per year off the average Queensland household power bill, through a $7-per-MW hour reduction in wholesale prices,” Ms Trad said.

Queensland Energy Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, said CleanCo’s entry to the National Electricity Market was the most significant development in the Queensland electricity landscape since major structural, institutional and regulatory changes more than 20 years ago.

“This will maintain Queensland’s nation-leading renewable energy growth and importantly, increase the diversity of our publicly-owned generation sources,” Mr Lynham said.

“And importantly, new generation means business opportunities and jobs building and running those projects.

“CleanCo is central to our Affordable Energy Plan that is delivering Queenslanders the lowest average power prices on the eastern seaboard, reliable supply and a planned transition to a renewable future.

“And it is Queenslanders who own this energy asset, and all of our other energy assets.”

CleanCo took over the following assets from the state’s other publicly-owned generators, Stanwell and CS Energy:

The 570MW Wivenhoe pumped storage hydro station
The 385MW gas-fired Swanbank E power station
The Kareeya, Barron Gorge and Koombooloomba hydro power stations in Far North Queensland

CleanCo had been tasked with bringing on an extra 1,000MW of clean energy over the next five years.

CleanCo will also complete the state’s Renewables 400 reverse auction, bringing up to another 400MW of solar and wind energy and battery storage into the market. Binding bids are being sought from ten proponents to supply renewable energy and recommend projects to government in early 2020.

CleanCo CEO, Dr Maia Schweizer, said CleanCo was focused on operating its assets to generate the best value for Queenslanders.

“As Queensland’s publicly-owned clean energy provider, we have a responsibility to ensure operation of our assets is socially, economically and environmentally viable,” Dr Schweizer said.

“We will use our assets to sustainably and responsibly increase supply in the electricity market.

“This means, for example, being strategic about when we draw electricity from the grid to pump water from Wivenhoe Dam to Splityard Creek Dam and when we release that water to generate electricity, making sure we maximise the value of our pumped storage assets and maintain capacity to firm other renewable sources.”

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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