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Estimates: Questioning the Energy Department about early coal and gas power station closures

During Parliamentary Budget Estimates on Tuesday 2 August 2022, I asked about whether the Government is planning for the early closure of coal and gas-fired power stations, including the jobs of affected workers. 

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

Mr BERKMAN: I have plenty more so I will move as quickly as I can. I will stick with the director-general for the time being. The minister has just stated unequivocally that there will be no early closure of any of the state’s coal-fired power generation fleet. We have seen recently that even the Queensland Resources Council CEO, Ian Macfarlane, said that all of Queensland’s coal-fired power generation could be shut in 10 years time. Has the department, in preparing the forthcoming energy plan, conducted any modelling or other analysis around the early closure of Queensland’s coal and gas generation facilities?

Mr Martyn: I thank the honourable member for the question. The forthcoming energy plan will ensure Queensland customers continue to have access to affordable, reliable electricity supply  throughout and beyond the energy transformation. In terms of what the department has done, what I can say is that the department is undertaking detailed modelling and analysis to ensure the right balance of generation and storage is in place and the transmission grid is fit for purpose. The department uses a range of modelling tools to assess the impacts for the energy transformation. It keeps its eye on a range of other modelling that is undertaken by, for example, AEMO, the Energy Security Board, AEMC et cetera. Obviously, we do analysis through our own sources that will go into the energy plan. It is important to note that, while modelling is an important input into decision-making, the Queensland government is also considering other aspects of the energy transformation that will impact on the timing and optimal delivery of transmission, generation and storage infrastructure. These considerations include how to best unlock other benefits such as increased levels of local content, improved outcomes for communities, potential supply chain and workforce considerations. It is our intention that that analysis will be outlined in the energy plan.

Mr BERKMAN: I want to go directly to the question, though. Has the department done its own analysis on early closure of coal or gas generation assets that the state owns?

Mr Martyn: The department’s analysis has been of the changing energy system in every respect.

Mr BERKMAN: And that involves early closure of coal and gas assets?

Mr Martyn: We analyse, as I said, every aspect of the energy system including generation, storage and transmission. We are not able in this hearing to identify the considerations that go into government decision-making, as you would appreciate. 

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