The Queensland Government hopes to put "downward pressure" on power prices with a plan that includes directing electricity generator Stanwell to change its pricing policy.
- Queensland Government trying to lower wholesale power prices
- State slowly shifting power mix towards renewables
- Social services council says electricity costs hurting low-income families
The Powering Queensland Plan aims to make power supply cheaper, cleaner and more secure.
Stanwell Corporation will be told to change its bidding practices in the National Energy Market, to try and achieve lower wholesale prices.
However, the State Government denied that meant Stanwell had been price gouging.
The plan also includes a possible restructure of government-owned generators and the establishment of a new corporation, CleanCo, to run renewable and low emission power stations.
A Queensland Energy Security Taskforce will be set up to make sure the system is reliable over the next two summers.
There will also be a so-called "reverse auction", where private generators would supply up to 400 megawatts of renewable energy at a set price.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Government wanted to use its mix of coal, gas and renewable energy to lead the nation in stabilising household and business power bills and creating jobs.
Ms Palaszczuk said the issue would be discussed this week at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting.
"In recent times we've seen a series of problems across Australia that indicates that the National Energy Market is faltering," she said.
"So we need intervention and we need clear policy direction from Canberra and from [Prime Minister] Malcolm Turnbull.
"However in the meantime, we won't sit by and wait."
Low income families struggling with costsThe Queensland Council of Social Service said investment in new energy supply to lower power prices was critically important.
"Low-income families in particular are really suffering from energy price increases," CEO Mark Henley said.
"While we've seen some very good initiatives by this State Government we need to see more around concessions to give families direct relief right now."
Mr Henley also called for tariffs to be adjusted to help families.
"There's no doubt we'd like to see electricity prices driven down by hundreds of dollars," he said.
Government's 'gradual' transition to renewablesThe power overhaul is also made up of several initiatives announced last week, including $386 million towards bolstering renewable energy projects in north Queensland and $770 million to help put the brakes on rising energy costs for homes and businesses in regional areas.
Over the weekend, Energy Minister Mark Bailey also announced the reopening of a previously mothballed gas-fired power station at Swanbank to ease pressure on the network.
Mr Bailey said the Government was re-affirming its commitment to 50 per cent of energy generation coming from a renewable source by 2030, in response to the findings of an the Renewable Energy Expert Panel report which was delivered last November.
"We have various strategies in our locker," he said.
"It is a responsible thing to plan a two, three, four per cent change [per year]."
"Our energy mix per year is a very gradual, sustained, planned way of integrating renewables here in Queensland."
The Clean Energy Council, representing the renewable energy industry, welcomed the package.
"It's this type of leadership that will ensure Queensland continues to see new investment in wind and solar and other renewable energy projects, that will help to ensure energy security and drive down power prices," CEO Kane Thornton said.