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QRC calls for greater competition in electricity market

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World Coal,

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the publishing of a report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which calls for more competition in the electricity market, including more baseload power alternatives to underwrite supply for industry.

QRC Chief Executive, Ian Macfarlane, said energy costs were one of the biggest inputs for the resources sector.

“The resources sector relies on stable and affordable power to support a range of jobs, including at mine sites and in associated industries such as processing and refining,” Macfarlane said.

“We welcome the National Energy Guarantee and look forward to it being settled between the Commonwealth and the States.

“But the ACCC report released today drives home that greater competition and long-term stability of energy supply is needed in the National Electricity Market (NEM), and that action is necessary to underwrite new sources of dispatchable power.

“North Queensland would be the ideal location for a High-Efficiency, Low-Emissions (HELE) coal-fired power station that could help reinforce the NEM with reliable dispatchable power.

“If we want to keep our resources jobs, and create more in the future, we must have access to affordable and reliable energy.

“It’s fitting that the Prime Minister spoke in Queensland today to further outline the importance of settling the National Energy Guarantee, because Queensland is the leader in resources and energy development on the East Coast.

“Queensland is home to the high-quality thermal coal that is powering advanced low-emissions coal-fired power stations in Asia, and we have developed the gas industry that has ensured the southern states here in Australia can keep the lights on. Our state is also the national leader in investing in renewables.

“We must continue to make the most of our natural resources, and Queensland can continue to lead the country with the addition of new advanced, baseload power for the NEM. This will support jobs and investments across the East Coast, especially with the addition of a stronger interconnector with NSW.

“We call on both the State and Federal Governments to support a full range of energy sources and technologies to add the extra baseload power into the national grid to support resources jobs and industries.”

The ACCC report also makes recommendations directly relevant to Queensland, including a recommendation that Queensland’s generation assets should be split into three portfolios which are separately owned and operated. It also recommends that action should be taken to address over investment or gold-plating of electricity networks.

The QRC has called on the State Government to give appropriate consideration to those recommendations in the interests of reducing costs to all energy users.

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