FIRED UP: Energy Minister Anthony Lynham visits Swanbank E Power Station after it was switched on in December.
FIRED UP: Energy Minister Anthony Lynham visits Swanbank E Power Station after it was switched on in December. Hayden Johnson

How switching on Swanbank E power station affected your bill

THE reignition of Swanbank's gas-fired power station has helped secure energy reliability and put downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices, a new report reveals.

After sitting stagnant for three years, the State Government directed energy producer Stanwell to re-ignite its Swanbank E station last year as part of its Powering Queensland Plan.

Under the plan, Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said the gas-fired station would be switched on to provide almost instant power during peak periods.

A report authored by the auditor-general and published through the Queensland Audit Office this week found the switching on of Swanbank E helped reduce volatility in the market during last year's hot summer.

"Swanbank E's return to service in 2018 added more generation capacity and electricity supply to the market, to meet the demand during these peak periods," the report said.

"The changes in bidding strategies for Stanwell and the return of Swanbank E to service contributed to less volatility in wholesale electricity prices in 2018 compared to the previous year."

The summer of 2017-18 was the second warmest on record in Australia, with a new peak electricity demand record set; reaching 9840 megawatt in February 2018.

At 9369 megawatt, the previous record was in February 2017.

The State Government directed Stanwell to undertake bidding strategies and return Swanbank E to service to place downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices as part of its power plan.

Last summer wholesale electricity prices in the National Electricity Market were less volatile compared to the previous year, the auditor-general's report found.

The average wholesale price in Queensland in 2018 was $72 per megawatt-hour which was lower than 2017.

It was above the 2014 to 2016 average price, which ranged between $50 to $60 per megawatt-hour.

The 2018 wholesale price in Queensland was also lower than the average in other states, which ranged between $82 to $93 per megawatt-hour.

Producing enough supply to power a city the size of Townsville, the Swanbank station was the first gas combined-cycle plant in the nation to be recommissioned.

Recommissioning Swanbank E contributed to increased fuel costs $139 million for power producers CS Energy and Stanwell.

Stanwell recorded an impairment expense of $67.1 million for the Swanbank E power station

Its return to service resulted in increased gas consumption worth $68.8 million and a decline in gas sales of $18.0 million.

The auditor-general's report found the state-owned power behemoths poured an extra $2.3 billion into the Palaszczuk Government's coffers last financial year with just less than half that returned to taxpayers through electricity bill relief.

"Income from electricity retail sales increased by $229.1 million (24 per cent)," the report found.

"Wholesale electricity sales increased by $101.4 million (4 per cent) due to higher realised prices in 2017-18."



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