Kaboom – Tarong power station to close by 2018/19, with Stanwell and half Gladstone to follow

We have released a report today which predicts that to meet the Queensland government’s 50% renewable target Tarong will close by 2018/19, Stanwell by 2026/27 and half of Gladstone progressively between 2020/21 and 2028/29. Download the analysis by clicking here.

Our analysis rests on the AEMO National Transmission Network Development Plan, which is information that must have been known to the government, but which they have neglected to share with electors. This omission is inexcusable as it affects the cost of electricity, particularly to those on fixed and low incomes (those the government claims to most represent), business, communities, and the workforce in the electricity sector. It joins a long list of omissions, like the report on a new coal-fired power station, by this government.

Significant points in the analysis are that the 50% renewable target by 2030 will:

  • see Stanwell’s Tarong plant close by 2018/19, one-third of Gladstone close by 2020/21, Stanwell’s plant west of Rockhampton by 2026/27 and one-sixth of Gladstone by 2028/29 (making half of Gladstone altogether) ;
  • cause localised job losses in areas with already high unemployment;
  • increase costs for mum and dad consumers through the introduction of demand tariffs (which Energex predict will leave 42% of consumers worse off) and additional gold plating of the network;
  • expose the state to a real risk of blackouts for up to 15% of the year, the equivalent of the combined months of January and February each year, and the real risk of uncontrollable state-wide blackouts for 3% of the time or 11 days of the year;
  • deprive the state of all its dividends from energy GOCs from a combination of closures and write-downs;
  • expose the state to $63 million rehabilitation costs, higher subsidies for regional Queensland consumers, lost income from generators, costs to write down generation and network assets;
  • lead to industrial exit in North and Central QLD, because transmission costs of baseload power will be too high to sustain industry – causing further job losses in the state’s centre and north.

“The closure of two of Stanwell’s generation plants, plus half of Gladstone, will damage the standard of living of all state residents, as well as the large and small businesses that provide jobs, incomes and investment.

“It will also eat into state government income by decreasing revenue from power generators, and increasing the costs to run services such as schools and hospitals.” Jonathan Pavetto, report author.