A coal-fired power station at Collinsville is among the projects to be investigated under a $10 million program to advance energy options in Central and North Queensland.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the initiative as he launched his government’s Underwriting New Generation Investments program.
He said it aimed to address supply and affordability issues specifically for high energy-intensive and trade-exposed customers in North and Central Queensland. .
“That relates especially to things like the aluminium smelter and the other heavy industries in and around Gladstone,” Mr Morrison said.
“They need reliable power and so what we’re also commissioning and providing funding for, is a feasibility analysis across a range of projects to see what best can meet the industrial power needs of North and Central Queensland.
“Now, that will engage in a range of projects, which will also include looking at the Collinsville proposal, which is a proposal that has been around for some time.
“But there is no commitment to underwrite or support any of those projects, we want to do the proper analysis to work out which project or which group of projects actually delivers on the need”
The program will develop a roadmap and identify viable locations for firm generation including coal, gas, pumped hydro, and biomass opportunities.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the funding would take the proposal for a HELE (high efficiency, low emission) power station at Collinsville to shovel-ready stage.
“We have a company with a proposal on the table to build a clean coal-fired power station at Collinsville and this funding will allow them to do all the further investigation they need to get this plan off the ground,” he said.
“Shine Energy, a Traditional Owner Company based in Brisbane, has been investigating this option, and this funding will enable them to undertake the detailed evaluation and feasibility assessments that need to happen next.”
More broadly, the Federal Government’s Underwriting New Generation Investments program has seen it shortlist 12 projects across Australia for potential underwriting including six renewable pumped hydro projects, five gas projects and one coal upgrade project.
Two are in Queensland, in Gatton (gas) and Crows Nest (renewable pumped hydro).
Minerals Council of Australia chief executive officer Tania Constable said the Underwriting New Generation Investment program represented a major step forward in ensuring Australia was capable of providing electricity when and where it is needed to businesses and households.
“The importance of baseload power supplies based on a technology-neutral approach – and supporting investment in generation plants providing electricity 24/7, regardless of weather conditions – has been taken for granted,” she said.