What the Gladstone candidates will do to cut power prices
ELECTRICITY prices have increased in recent years and can amount to one of the biggest expenditures for Gladstone households.
During the Observer/Courier Mail Queensland Election 2020 debate candidates were asked 'Power prices are a common gripe of Gladstone residents, some of whom pay $1200 a quarter or more. What is your plan to ensure affordable, reliable power for Gladstone for the future?'
Labor incumbent Glenn Butcher said the government had delivered lower power prices by not selling off electricity assets.
"We certainly now see in Queensland we have the lowest average power price on the eastern seaboard of Australia," Mr Butcher said.
"This is one thing that we have done here in Queensland because number one, we've kept our electricity assets here in Queenslander's hands.
"That has been critical, we have seen what's happened in other states and territories right around Australia when they sold off their assets, to sell their souls to the Federal Government, they have had issues with power prices and they have had issues with supply.
"For those people who have been looking at their electricity bills over the last few quarters, they would have seen a $200 rebate come back in their power bills.
"We've seen an extra $50 come through as well on top of that, plus we've got another one coming in 2021 with an extra $50 again."
LNP candidate Ron Harding said cutting prices for manufacturing businesses and building another coal fired power station would ensure cheaper prices and prosperity.
"The LNP has announced a 20 per cent reduction in power prices to support manufacturing businesses," Mr Harding said.
"The LNP will also introduce electricity providers up here like they have down south, so we can bring some competition into the game for the regional areas of Gladstone and drive down the prices for residents.
"In the south east corner they have a number of providers.
"Bringing in more providers in regional areas is going to increase competition and push down prices.
"We have gone from where we were the fourth cheapest prices of power in the world, quite a few years ago, and now we're the fourth highest in the world.
"So we definitely need to focus on baseload power and I believe myself in a coal fired power station but I'd like to bring in the technologies, the latest in technologies, because we can burn it cleaner than the world's ever seen."
One Nation candidate Kevin Jorgensen also said a new coal fired power station was essential, until renewable technologies became more reliable and efficient.
"A high energy low emission coal fired power station is a must in my opinion," Mr Jorgensen said.
"The renewables, while they will improve, currently they're not anywhere near where they need to be.
"So we need to build a new coal fired power station somewhere in northern Queensland and that will reduce the prices.
"We used to have the lowest prices in the world, but now we're hell bent on putting solar farms up everywhere.
"A solar farm at Kennedy Park has been built for 18 months, so I've been told, and it just hasn't been connected because they have got connection issues.
"A lot of people are making these decisions about these solar farms and obviously they are not the experts that they think they are.
"So we need to start to get experts to study these sort of projects and make the decisions."
Independent candidate for Gladstone Murray Peterson said his plan included geothermal power.
"The most unreliable parts of NRG power station are the coal fired boilers," he said.
"The turbines and generators can have a much longer service life than the boilers.
"Deep geothermal wells installed in the ground next to the power station could be used to provide the steam to run the power station."
Mr Peterson said geothermal power was used in New Zealand due to the proximity of volcanoes and geothermal activity near the Earth's surface.
"Away from volcanoes rock still increases in temperature by 25 degrees for every km down.
"Four km down water will boil.
"Twenty km down, the rock is hot enough to provide steam at the 540 degrees and the 19.68 MPa pressure needed to run the existing turbines at NRG.
"It is continuous (24/7) energy, suitable for base load power with no fuel costs and no emissions."
Greens candidate Emma Eastaughffe's responses will be published when received.