Coal outages and lack of storage means Qlders cop highest power prices in Aus

In the quarter from 1 January to 31 March, Queensland’s average power prices were $150/MWh, while the next highest prices, in NSW, were around $90/MWh, the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Quarterly Energy Dynamics (QED) report confirmed yesterday. The soaring price has been caused by major coal power station outages, rising fossil fuel prices and a lack of investment in electricity storage.

Queensland Conservation Council Energy Strategist, Clare Silcock, says analysis shows that large-scale batteries could have reduced Queensland’s power prices. 

“As well as the exploded Callide C4 power station, four more coal and gas fired power station units, totalling more than 2 GW of capacity, went offline on unplanned maintenance in the summer peak demand period of December to February. Our analysis of the first week of February showed that two 100 MW, 2 hour batteries could have reduced the cost of electricity by $102 million,” Ms Silcock said. 

“It’s not a coincidence that Queensland has the highest prices, when our large-scale renewable energy is the least developed of any state. As well as becoming increasingly unreliable, our coal and gas fired power stations are now exposed to skyrocketing global fossil fuel prices. Electricity prices in Queensland are not going to come down anytime soon without Government planning and investment,” Ms Silcock said.

“The Queensland Government has now announced one 100 / 200 MWh battery to be built by CS Energy. But we are clearly falling behind other states and Queensland electricity consumers will be left paying the price for years to come. The Queensland Competition Authority has foreshadowed a 5% rise in electricity prices in regional Queensland in 2022-23. Uncertainty around fossil fuel prices and renewable investment now is likely to push contract prices high into the future which would be reflected in retail prices into 2023-24 and beyond,” Ms Silcock said.

“We need to see more action now from the Queensland Government to strengthen our energy future. Report after report is demonstrating that renewables are cheaper and more reliable,” Ms Silcock said.

“We also need the Federal Government to come to the table. They have refused to sign a bilateral deal with Queensland, despite investing billions of dollars in energy infrastructure in Liberal led states,” Ms Silcock said.

Media contact: Clare Silcock, [email protected], 0481055531