Revealed: Why Queensland power bills remain high, despite renewable energy savings

New analysis has found that Queensland's more than 1 million rooftop solar installations and large-scale renewable projects brought down average wholesale power prices in 2023 by $117/MWh.

The research (PDF 325k) by the Queensland Conservation Council found these savings in the wholesale market would equate to an average saving of $400 per household if they were passed on by electricity retailers.

"Wholesale electricity prices have been slashed in half since rolling breakdowns at coal-fired power stations and inflated global coal and gas prices caused them to spike in 2022," said Clare Silcock, QCC's Energy Strategist.

"Our analysis found that renewables are a significant part of the reason why wholesale prices are coming down for all Queenslanders. When renewables were generating more than 70 per cent of Queensland’s electricity supply the average wholesale electricity price was -$25/MWh.

"Unfortunately, there is a delay in wholesale electricity savings trickling down into retail power bills, if they get passed on by retailers at all.

"We've seen with the recent draft Default Market Offer energy bill prices are expected to increase in south east Queensland by 2.7 per cent from July.

"This is significantly less than the price hikes over the previous two years, but even so our report shows that retailers will likely make significant profits in 2024-25 through savings they are not passing onto consumers.

"Other reasons why energy bills are remaining high include inflation and the continued risk of future price spikes driven by extreme weather and unreliable, ageing fossil fuel power stations."

This report comes as the Queensland Liberal Nation Party faces a test on their support for Queensland's energy transformation, with the Energy (Renewable Transformation and Jobs) Bill 2023 likely to be voted on in the coming months. The Bill includes Queensland's 70 per cent by 2032 and 80 per cent by 2035 renewable energy targets.

"The key to lower power prices is building more renewable energy backed by storage to bring down wholesale prices further and safeguard the grid from further outages at our ageing coal-fired power stations," said Ms Silcock.

"That's why we're calling for bi-partisan support for Queensland's renewable energy targets and transition plan, so no matter who wins the October state election, Queenslanders are experiencing the benefits of renewable energy."