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Estimates: Questions on public ownership in energy generation sector

During Parliamentary Estimates on Friday 11 December 2020, I asked a few questions about public ownership of the energy generation sector.

You can read the answers below or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).

Mr BERKMAN: Thank you very much, Acting Chair. I have a couple of quick questions to follow up on the minister's comment before about the maintenance of majority public ownership. I have a question for the director-general. How does the department measure the level of public ownership in the generation sector? For example, is it based on megawatt hours of production, taking into account actual output or is it that sort of nameplate capacity?

Mr Purtill: I thank the member very much for the question. In terms of identifying what percentage of power generation comes from government owned corporations, we will use the nameplate-generating capacity. You can imagine the actual output is so variable.

Mr BERKMAN: Indeed. Understood. What is that level currently?

Mr Purtill: I can get you the exact figure, but I can give you an approximate figure straight off the top of my head: about 62 per cent. I will get you the exact figure in a minute.

Mr BERKMAN: Wonderful, thank you. With the Acting Chair's indulgence, given how very brief those answers were, we have heard about the $500 million invested in ongoing public ownership. Does the department have a target for how much generating capacity that $500 million should purchase?

Mr Purtill: I thank the member for the question. It really will be on the merits of the projects as they are brought forward and assessed by the government owned corporations. Certainly, there are some general rules of thumb around the generating capacity of different types of renewable generation for example, but there is a whole range of factors that might affect that. There might be projects that come forward, for example, with commercially very exciting storage options attached to them. In relation to the actual generating capacity, there may be other factors that are just as important or as appealing to a project as the pure percentage of electrons that it produces per dollar invested in the project. We see that across a lot of our programs that we are looking at. There is an array of mixtures of solar with batteries, wind with battery, pure solar, pure wind. It could be that locations where the wind, for example, might really smooth out the profile during the day might have better advantages or it could be about the locations of projects in terms of their system strength and being able to either contribute or not deteriorate—do no harm to—the system. It is very difficult to say, ‘We want to get X megawatts per dollar.’

Mr BERKMAN: Understood, thank you.

Mr Purtill: Thank you.

ACTING CHAIR: Member for South Brisbane?

Mr Purtill: Sorry, Acting Chair?

ACTING CHAIR: Certainly.

Mr Purtill: The answer is 65.7 per cent.

Mr BERKMAN: Thank you.

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