Labor energy boss argues 'renewables now best for bills'

Within a day of our plan's release, wholesale energy futures prices plunged 10% in Queensland, which the Energy Users Association of Australia said is "providing real benefit and a ray of hope for all energy users”.
Within a day of our plan's release, wholesale energy futures prices plunged 10% in Queensland, which the Energy Users Association of Australia said is "providing real benefit and a ray of hope for all energy users”. Warren Lynam


It's the easiest thing in the world to nostalgically look to the past and promise what once worked as George Christensen does supporting a new privately owned coal fired power station. 

Real leadership is being across the latest technological and economic developments and ensuring the best outcomes for household power bills - exactly the opposite of what occurred under Newman and Nicholls, who inflicted 43% increases on us during their term. 

Mr Christensen must have been living in a cave not to have noticed the Palaszczuk Labor Government's week of energy reforms under the Powering Queensland Plan released this month. 

Using the levers available to us because we kept our assets in public hands, we slashed the 7.1% increase by more than half the same day the Queensland Competition Authority announced it. 

We committed $386m under our Powering North Queensland Plan including for a North Queensland clean energy hub, and brought back gas generation capacity mothballed by the LNP to put downward pressure on wholesale prices.  

Within a day of our plan's release, wholesale energy futures prices plunged 10% in Queensland, which the Energy Users Association of Australia said is "providing real benefit and a ray of hope for all energy users". 

Compared to 3.3% in Queensland, southern states with privatised power are suffering massive household price surges - 19% in South Australia and in ACT, 11 % in NSW and 9 % in Victoria.  

Mr Christensen doesn't mention the Finkel Report Clean Energy Target proposes a 42% renewables mix by 2030 which is not far off Labor's 50% target. Hardly crazy. 

Like all his LNP colleagues, he ignores what everyone in the energy market knows - that large scale renewables are now cheaper than new coal fired stations to build, commission and operate. 

That was said by his own Turnbull Government appointed head of the National Energy Market Review and Australia's Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel.   

Call me crazy, but I'll be listening to Dr Finkel ahead of perennial backbencher Mr Christensen. 

Peak business body the Australian Industry Group said a new coal-fired power station would not recoup its costs unless wholesale electricity prices are sustained at around double their historic average level. 

They're no hard left green group - that's the hard nosed business sector talking. 

Industry investment is driving the clean energy boom in Queensland - seventeen renewable energy power stations are committed and being built under the Palaszczuk Labor Government creating 2000 regional jobs. 

Barcaldine is commissioned, Kidston, Normanton, Lakeland and Sunmetals solar stations under construction and a wave of renewable projects will start construction over the next year.  

Near Townsville in Mr Christensen's own seat, SunMetals is constructing Queensland's largest industrial solar project with 1.3 million solar panels providing the zinc refinery with a third of their baseload needs. That's right - baseload solar. 

With the youngest most efficient fleet of eight traditional baseload generators in the nation we will see them continuing to play an important role, however the big switch over on renewable energy versus new coal generation has happened.

Stagecoaches served their purpose till motor cars and Henry Ford came along. Bi planes were handy till single wing planes then jets were invented.  

Mr Christensen should acknowledge the truth and back the cheapest newest form of power which is the best thing not just for power bills but also for our Great Barrier Reef. 

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