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More electricity for Queenslanders – Swanbank E gas secured, hiring underway

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PRESS RELEASE

The Palaszczuk Government has secured gas and started recruiting staff to bring the Swanbank E power station, near Ipswich, back on line to generate more electricity for Queenslanders.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told State Parliament today the 385 megawatt Swanbank E power station, which the Newman-Nicholls Government mothballed in 2014 and dismissed 25 staff, would restart by the end of the year.

“Restarting Swanbank E and bringing more supply to market is a key priority under our $1.16 billion Powering Queensland Plan, following failures of the National Electricity Market,” she said.

“My Government can restart the Swanbank E power station because it remains in public ownership.  Tim Nicholls wanted to sell our electricity generators, transmission and distribution companies,” she said.

“Tim Nicholls oversaw the closure of Swanbank E and the dismissal of 25 staff from the power plant.”

“Tim Nicholls and the LNP put revenue ahead of residents.  Power prices increased by 43% during the term of the LNP Government.’

“My Government has kept downward pressure on electricity prices.  We have kept increases to an average 1.9% per annum over three years and we have increased the electricity rebate for eligible seniors and pensioners to $340.85 and extended it to Commonwealth Health Care Card holders.”

The Premier said Stanwell had also begun recruiting for 16 new jobs that will be created as part of the power station’s return to operation.

“New employees are expected to be in place by mid-September 2017,” she said.

“The power station will undergo a test run and commissioning, scheduled for November through December with the intent to be fully operational on or before 1 January 2018.”

Treasurer and Acting Minister for Energy Curtis Pitt said firing Swanbank E up again was necessary after the extreme record heat waves and a lack of federal energy certainty under the Turnbull Government 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,” he said.

“Our ability to take this action is a result of the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to retain Stanwell as a state-owned asset. This action wouldn’t be possible under the LNP who wanted to sell of our assets.”

“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.”

Media contact: Kirby Anderson (Premier’s office) 0417 263 791  

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  • George Michaelson

    Wish they’d done it sooner, and I hope the negative price signal is strong, and long.

  • john

    Why isn’t the PHES Wivenhoe being used?
    Sits there wasted infrastructure.

    • solarguy

      Perhaps Giles can ask the Queensland government, because someone needs to find the answer.

      • the government has said it will put wivenhoe and other assets into a new “clean energy generator”, which i think answers the question. clearly, the government owned generators decided more profits could be made by using gas generators. leitch went into it in some detail a few months ago, the little pumped hydro plant that didn’t.

        • solarguy

          Thanks Giles, but it makes you wonder, if they had enough demand and needed to use it, would they.