The Queensland Government will restart Stanwell Corporation’s 385MW Swanbank E gas-fired power station to increase supply and reduce volatility in the Queensland wholesale market.
State Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, said that in the height of the asset sales frenzy in 2014, Stanwell placed the Swanbank E Power Station into cold storage and sold the associated gas entitlements in readiness for a sell off to the private sector.
“The Palaszczuk Government is responding to failures in the National Energy Market and the associated higher electricity prices by bringing an additional 385 MW capacity into the market,” Mr Pitt said.
“It is expected that the potential impacts of bringing this additional capacity online in the first quarter of 2018 is likely to reduce the price volatility in the electricity market during this period.”
Minister for Energy, Mark Bailey, said firing Swanbank E up again was necessary after the extreme record heat waves and a lack of federal energy certainty that has undermined industry investment and placed upward pressure on wholesale electricity prices.
“We can’t control the weather but we can take action now to bring the state-owned Swanbank E gas-fired power station back online in time for the summer months,” Mr Bailey said.
“Because of our commitment to public ownership we’ve been able to take decisive action in the best interest of Queenslanders to put downward pressure on wholesale prices and ensure a secure electricity supply – even when demand is at its highest.”
Mr Bailey said this announcement is one of a raft of new measures by the Queensland Government to help stabilise electricity prices and boost supply including the Powering North Queensland Plan, where $386 million will be spent on unlocking the region’s renewable energy resources.
Mr Bailey said the Powering North Queensland Plan includes developing strategic transmission infrastructure in North and Northwest Queensland to support a clean energy hub and unlock renewable energy projects and jobs.
“We will also look at improvement works for the Burdekin Falls Dam and options to develop the proposed Burdekin Hydro power project, as well as undertaking a feasibility study to identify potential hydro projects across Queensland,” Mr Bailey said.
“These measures are part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring that consumers in Queensland can continue to access affordable and secure electricity supply.
“Affordable and secure energy supply is essential to powering the state’s economy.”We will continue to use our public asset ownership to back in consumers.”