QLD phases out program affecting electricity suppliers

Electricity suppliers in Queensland could be affected by the phasing out of a government program that requires energy retailers to source 15 per cent of their electricity from gas-fired generators. 

Queensland energy minister Mark McArdle said the Queensland Gas Scheme had already served its purpose and would be shut down in an effort to reduce red tape in the industry.

Mr McArdle claimed that almost 20 per cent of electricity is currently being sourced from gas generators, meaning that the initiative's aim of boosting investment in gas production has succeeded.

"Since carbon pricing, introduced in July 2012, is achieving similar outcomes, now is an appropriate time to remove duplication and cease the scheme," he added.

The Queensland government also revealed that the Smart Energy Savings Program (SESP) would be closed.

This scheme requires all businesses using a certain amount of electricity to report their usage to the government in an effort to drive energy saving improvements across the state.

Firms have to undertake energy audits, develop energy-saving plans and publish their findings and actions every five years.

Mr McArdle argued that companies should recognise the benefits of reducing their energy use without being forced to report directly to the government.

He remarked: "This requirement was adding red tape for no reason and the government will not undertake any compliance activity for outstanding obligations under the SESP.

"The repeal of these standards will strip away the administrative burden and complexity for investors. It will allow them to select the most appropriate technology for their needs and brings Queensland into line with all other states and the federal government."

Standards for new coal-fired power stations will also be retracted, with Mr McArdle again pointing to the carbon price as the reason, claiming no additional environmental advantages would be achieved by carrying on with the policy.

According to the politician, there is unlikely to be further need for more coal-fired baseload generators in Queensland for at least another ten years, looking at current demand.

The minister claimed gas suppliers and electricity suppliers will be offered guidance by the Department of Energy and Water Supply on how these changes will affect them.

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Posted by Charlie Moore