Government-owned clean energy generator rolls out in Queensland in 2019

Clean energy projects bid for CleanCo contracts in Queensland.

From mid-2019, Queenslanders can choose a government-owned clean energy generator after CleanCo was formally established this week.

CleanCo will boost Queensland’s renewable energy industry and also increase competition in the wholesale electricity market.

The renewable energy retailer should secure a clean, reliable, cheaper energy supply for Queenslanders.

Clean energy generator designed to reduce power bills

CleanCo will put downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices at peak times. This is because of increased competition in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

CleanCo kicking off in Queensland as state-owned clean energy generator.

Queensland will get a third state-owned power generator in 2019 – clean energy retailer CleanCo.

It will then deliver benefits to households as well as large commercial and industry customers.

CleanCo should reduce wholesale prices by an average of $7 per MWh. This could potentially save households an estimated $70 per year on their power bills.

As a result, the clean energy retailer and generator will offer customers reliable baseload power. The state’s low-emission, renewable assets will back up the generation.

The Palaszczuk Labor Government wants to maintain majority ownership of generation assets. It believes this will then help the state transition to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

CleanCo transition: Next steps

An independent board is now in operation. CleanCo will go on working with key stakeholders including Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, also existing GOC power generators CS Energy and Stanwell.

CleanCo will concentrate on low and zero emission power including wind, hydro and solar panels. As a result it will build, own and maintain its own clean energy generation.

The Labor Government will inject $250 million to kick off CleanCo’s energy portfolio. This will therefore help generate 1,000 MW of wind and solar power.

ACCC and Grattan Institute oppose CleanCo

Not everyone thinks the state-owned clean energy generator is a great idea, however.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission wanted CS Energy and Stanwell sold off.

The Grattan Institute’s Energy Program Director Tony Wood also says the idea can only make sense if energy assets are ultimately sold off.

However, the Palaszczuk Government has a policy of ‘no asset sales’. CleanCo will therefore stay in government hands for the foreseeable future.

CleanCo’s portfolio includes trading rights to Wivenhoe pumped hydro plan, the Swanbank E gas-fired power plant and existing hydro-electric power stations in Queensland.