Electricity bills to rise 9.2% in regional Queensland as report blames delays in renewable energy projects | Renewable energy

Electricity prices in regional Queensland are poised to jump 9.2% next financial year due to the rising cost of coal and gas as a new report details how customers are finally paying the price for delays in developing large-scale renewable projects.

La Queensland The government, which owns most of the state’s electricity generators, has a 50% renewable target, but says coal plants will not close ahead and “will continue to play a significant role in our electricity system”.

The government has announced a $ 175 rebate for households, to offset the rise in electricity prices. 2021 budget documents show that the state generators will soon will not be able to pay dividends to taxpayers.

An analysis by the Queensland Conservation Council said electricity prices in regional areas would have fallen by 25% if two major wind turbines currently under development – the Wambo and MacIntyre projects – had been built faster.

The report, titled Coal Power is Costing Queensland, said the price hike showed that investment in these types of projects is necessary several years ago.

“Because Queensland has not invested in renewable energy as fast as other states for the past five years, we have gone from having the lowest prices in 2017 to the highest electricity prices in 2022,” QCC energy strategist Clare Silcock said. , he said.

“Queenslanders in the South East can buy a cheaper deal, but what we really need is for the government to plan and invest in more renewable energy to be built sooner.”

The report said Queensland had the highest coal dependence of any state in the national energy market, and that coal power has become increasingly unreliable.

The Callide power station in central Queensland broke eight separate times in 2020before an explosion and fire in one of its generators caused widespread blackouts across the state.

“Other states are already seeing renewable energy prices go down, while Queensland police have higher prices than ever before and increasingly unreliable coal-fired power plants,” Silcock said.

Stephanie Gray, Sun Citizens’ deputy director, said price increases were most pronounced in coal-dependent states like Queensland.

“Queensland wholesale prices are also through the roof because breakdowns at coal and gas units mean we have had unexpected shortages during times of high demand,” Gray said.

“To the credit of the state government they have announced a $ 175 … discount for Queenslanders’ next electricity bill, but this is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.”

The Queensland Competition Authority has published its cost determination for regional customers on Tuesday, who said prices – which would see a typical annual cost for homes rise $ 119 to $ 1409 – were due to an increase in generation costs.

It said there was a “stricter supply demand in Queensland” and that periods of high demand had been combined with reduced generational availability. This included record heat waves and unplanned power outages at coal and gas plants, including at Callide.

The authority said generation costs had also risen as gas and coal prices were at record highs.

“Despite a recent significant increase in renewable generation, gas and coal-fired power plants continue to be the last generator shipped and set spot prices for about 70% of the time in Queensland,” the QCA determination said.

“This dynamic spot price adjustment, along with higher gas and coal prices, has contributed to higher spot prices and ASX contract prices, and therefore higher wholesale energy costs.”

Queensland is expected to publish a significant energy plan in the coming months, which is expected to outline the state’s path to generating 50% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030, cut carbon emissions by 30% by 2030, and achieve net zero emissions. until 2050.

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