Gladstone Power Station could suffer $1.1b blow

Paul Braven

GLADSTONE'S power station is facing a new challenge in the form of the Queensland Government's renewable energy target.

For many, Gladstone Power Station's three stacks signify the reason for bringing their family here for jobs over the past 40 years but the generator may now be under threat from the Annastacia Palaszczuk State Government's 50% renewable energy target.

A draft report commissioned by the Palaszczuk Government, in its bid to have 50% of the state's energy produced renewable technologies by 2030, found the power station would be hit by a $600 million to $1.1 billion cash-flow reduction if the target was reached.

That kind of financial hit would be a further blow for the power station which already runs to about 35% capacity and with a smaller workforce than any time in its history.

"While existing generators are projected to suffer very large reductions in future profits... they are expected to be able to continue to meet their avoidable costs and provide modest returns to capital," the Queensland Renewable Energy Expert Draft Report read.


>>1 in 5 NRG workers to be axed

>>UPDATE: 'Could have killed': NRG workers back on site today

>>The Courier Mail takes aim at Gladstone Power Station

An aerial View of the Gladstone Power Station.
An aerial View of the Gladstone Power Station. Brenda Strong

But an energy expert has said the owners of Queensland's biggest power station, most emissions intensive and oldest, as well as all the others in Queensland, would have to weigh up if the small profits would outweigh the constant infrastructure costs required to run a power station.

Grattan Institute's director of energy Tony Wood said Gladstone Power Station would have to weigh up the economics to invest in upgrades.

He used the Hazelwood Power Station, in Victoria, as an example where there was speculation it would close instead of spending $10-$20 million in repairs when the profits might not be there in 10 years to justify the investment.

POWER PERFORMANCE: The emission intensity of Australia's power stations.
POWER PERFORMANCE: The emission intensity of Australia's power stations.

Gladstone Power Station has faced similar economic decision, it went through an organisational restructuring in March due to "changing business conditions both in electricity market and the resources sector in general" as explained by then general manager John Abbott.

The were job losses and termination of its maintenance contract as terminal overhauls were reduced to match the wear and tear of the station as it ran about 35% capacity because of the current impact of renewable energy.


There is, however, a silver lining.

If the Gladstone station could outlast other power stations, profits could increase as there would be less suppliers to meet need.

Despite all these pressures, premier Palaszczuk said coal-fired power stations would serve Queenslanders for "many many years to come".

She said the panel which created the report had shown a pathway to deliver the government's target and implored politicians to make a submission for the final report.

Gladstone member Glenn Butcher said his concern was for the workers but said the renewable energy transition wouldn't happen with a click of the finger.

"Renewable energy will continue to grow and there could be opportunities for these workers to be utilised in the renewable energy sector if that work is viable for them," he said. "And we need to remember this is 14 years away.

"The power station is unique, it can ramp up immediately and who knows, it could be bought by industries which come to Gladstone and need their own energy generation."

NRG Gladstone Power Station was contacted for comment.

Topics:  gladstone gladstoneindustry gladstone region renewable energy renewable energy target

Bus incident led to trip to police

Police talk to a man after an incident on a Wide Bay Transit bus.

The man has been charged with public nuisance.

Brass band ready for annual event on weekend

Excelsior Brass Band, Maryborough City celebrates 100 years - 
Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle

The annual Power Brass Showcase is set to be a hit

Headspace grows to help our young

Psychology issues and concepts word cloud illustration. Word collage concept.

The day celebrated 10 years of innovation in youth mental health

Local Partners

Library to air next classic film series at free event

FRASER Coast Libraries will screen An American In Paris as part of the next series of their classic film series.

Something for young and old at annual antique fair

Hervey Bay Antiques and Collectables Fair, PCYC - Kaitlyn and Charlotte Smith enjoyed looking over the jewellery on the Magpies Collectables stall.
Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle

The Fraser Coast Antique Fair is on again

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Veteran photographer's work on show at gallery

Fraser Coast Chronicle chief photographer Alistair Brightman's photographic exhibition at Hervey Bay Regional Art Gallery is on now. It's called 20twenty20 Vision - Views & News.

"In my free time I do a lot of landscape and nature photography."

Selma Blair blames flight outburst on 'psychotic blackout'

Selma Blair

"I am someone who should never drink, and I rarely do"

Bob Dylan acknowledges Nobel Prize win

Bob Dylan has finally acknowledged his Nobel Prize win

WATCH: Trailer for Jackman's final Wolverine film released

First trailer for the last Wolverine film with Hugh Jackman.

Thrilling trailer promises a dark, dystopian finale for Wolverine

CCTV footage surfaces of Kim Kardashian West's robbers

The blurry footage shows three men on bikes and two on foot

Cathriona White's mother claims to have Jim Carrey's results

Jim Carrey and late ex-girlfriend Cathriona White

SHE claims Carrey exposed White to herpes, chlamydia, Hepatitis A

The Koi Boys are back with more covers and original songs

Former Voice contestants The Koi Boys have signed with Universal Music.

THE Voice favourites release their debut album today.

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge

SEQ is the 'greatest market': property guru John McGrath

SPEAKER: John McGrath of McGrath Estate Agents is today's guest speaker at the Better Business Breakfast.

SEQ is the "greatest" real estate market, says property guru.