Australia is currently undergoing an emergency state, with temperatures soaring to record-breaking heights, and severe droughts causing tinder-dry conditions. The Australian government is rallying to offer residents some solace amid these dire conditions.
The Morrison government has reportedly revealed plans to underwrite two new gas-based power stations. Energy Minister Angus Taylor has also signed off on underwriting a 132-megawatt plant to be set up in Gatton, Queensland and a 220-megawatt gas generator in Dandenong, Victoria.
The proposals for these plants have been put forth by two private companies, Victoria-based APA Group and Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners in Queensland, who have been given the go-ahead for the projects, provided they can secure the necessary funds.
However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was recently quoted as stating that the government would still consider greenlighting coal-fired power stations as a part of their energy mix. He commented that the government will continue to consider all plant options and listen to the “quiet still voices” rather than be dissuaded by “lots of shouting noises”.
Morrison indicated that there was no doubt that the whole mix is required for an ideal energy solution. He further commented that, being agnostic, he would consider the reliability and affordability of the options and said that the main objectives of the government are to deal with the environmental challenges, maintain economy growth and bring about reduction of power prices.
A proposal and pending report for a coal-based plant in north Queensland, as well as a few other options in New South Wales are among the coal-fired power plants being considered by the federal government.
The Dandenong and Gatton gas plants are some of the first new generation projects to receive underwriting support from the government, in a bid to fortify their long-term plans to ensure the stability of Australia’s energy market.
Final agreements on the gas plants’ underwriting are expected to be concluded early next year. The construction, however, will commence only once the firms have secured private funding.