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Supporting Reliable Energy Infrastructure Program

Connecting Australia’s largest energy users with price-competitive generation.

Overview

  • Large energy users in the National Electricity Market (NEM) are currently facing an affordability crisis.
  • The ACCC Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry outlined the issues faced by large energy users, including:
    • energy costs make up a large proportion of operating costs in some sectors
    • significant increases in wholesale prices can wipe out thin operating margins and destroy profitability
    • trade-exposed sectors are unable to raise prices if they are to remain internationally competitive.
  • Many of these large energy users are among Australia’s largest employers and are significant contributors to economic development, jobs and wages growth in their surrounding regions.
  • In Queensland, these challenges are compounded by a state government with near-monopoly control of generation and transmission.
  • To ensure the ongoing viability of these valuable industries and the prosperity and jobs they provide, the Australian Government must act.

Program objectives

  • As part of our plan for a stronger economy, the government is announcing a $10 million program to supply affordable and reliable energy for commercial and industrial customers, specifically for high energy-using and trade-exposed industries in central and north Queensland.
  • The 3-year program ending in 2022 will provide business case support, coordination between suppliers and customers, and develop a roadmap for securing the price-competitive generation that these industries require.
  • In developing this roadmap, the government is currently conducting a detailed strategic evaluation and feasibility assessment of projects to examine northern and central Queensland’s current and future energy needs.
  • Projects that could be assessed could include projects involving gas, pumped hydro and biomass industries.
  • The program is intended to support wholesale prices below $60 per MWh.