Renewable generator pumping power prices down

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

The establishment of a third publicly-owned generator focused on low and no emission power delivers on a Palaszczuk Government commitment at the 2017 election.

Speaking at CleanCo’s pumped hydro-electric power station at Wivenhoe Dam, Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said CleanCo would drive competition to reduce wholesale electricity prices and ultimately deliver savings on Queenslander’s power bills.

“From today, CleanCo has 1114 megawatts of dedicated clean energy generation assets in Queensland hands,” Ms Trad said.

With its mandate to build, own and operate low and no 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 our target of 50 perc 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 megawatt hour reduction in wholesale prices.

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,” he 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 today took over:

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

from the state’s other publicly-owned generators, Stanwell and CS Energy.

CleanCo had been tasked with bringing on an extra 1000 megawatts of clean energy over the next five years.

CleanCo will also complete the Government’s Renewables 400 reverse auction, bringing up to another 400 megawatts of solar and wind energy and battery storage into the market. Binding bids are being sought from 10 proponents to supply renewable energy and recommend projects to government early next year.

CleanCo CEO Dr Maia Schweizer said CleanCo was focussed 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 asset and maintain capacity to firm other renewable sources.”

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