Queensland Government’s CleanCo Is Go

CleanCo - renewable energy

Image: Queensland Government

CleanCo, Queensland’s new publicly owned renewables and low-emissions electricity generator, officially became an entity at midnight on Sunday.

Originally kicked off in August, CleanCo involves restructuring Queensland’s two publicly-owned electricity generation companies into three entities.

The organisation has a new chair and board, including Ivor Frischknecht. Mr. Frischknecht previously headed the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) from 2012 until August this year. International management consultant Jacqui Walters is the inaugural chair, with Tracy Dare another director. Ms. Dare is a chartered accountant and a former director of CS Energy.

“CleanCo will be a game changer with a strategic portfolio of low and no-emission power generation assets,” said Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad. “The Palaszczuk Government has appointed board members with a wealth of experience in the dynamic energy sector and strong change and business leadership skills to ensure a smooth establishment.”

Queensland Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the activities of CleanCo will put more downward pressure on electricity prices, while boosting investment and jobs in the state’s renewable energy sector. At this stage, CleanCo has a kitty of $250 million for building, owning and operating new renewable generation capacity.

“The new CleanCo complements Queensland’s strong position as an exporter of energy to the southern states and helps deliver more affordable energy with the right mix of dispatchable and renewable generation capacity,” states the QLD government.

CleanCo will have trading rights to a initial portfolio of existing energy generators, including Wivenhoe (pumped hydro storage), Swanbank E (gas), Barron Gorge (hydro), Kareeya (hydro) and Koombooloomba (hydro) power stations. The fact that gas is included in CleanCo’s portfolio has caused concern for some, as has its potential role in the future.

The foundation assets won’t be transferred to CleanCo until such time it has developed the capability to manage them at required safety and reliability standards. CS Energy and Stanwell employees transferring over to CleanCo will maintain their existing conditions.

1GW Renewables Capacity By 2025

According to a fact sheet, CleanCo will deliver 1000MW of renewable energy generation capacity, including wind power, solar energy and hydro assets, by 2025. This will assist the government towards its goal of 50 per cent renewable energy generation capacity by 2030 under the Queensland Renewable Energy Target (QRET)

Preliminary analysis by the government indicated CleanCo should reduce wholesale electricity prices by approximately $7/MWh on average. It expects this to initially translate to an estimated $70 annual electricity bill saving for the average household. When? It doesn’t say.

It’s anticipated CleanCo will be trading in the National Electricity Market by the middle of 2019, subject to receiving the necessary regulatory approvals.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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