'Target will see coal stations close, blackouts'
ANNASTACIA Palaszczuk's renewable energy target will force the closure of coal-fired power stations, increase the risk of blackouts and cause dividends to dry up, new analysis has revealed.
Research conducted for the Australian Institute of Progress warned the cascading closure of coal plants would begin from as early as next year under Labor's plan for 50 per cent renewables use by 2030.
However, the report was heavily criticised by Labor last night which insisted the Government owned the majority of the coal fleet and credible analysis forecast no imminent closures.
Energy has been a key flashpoint during the 2017 election with the LNP promising to cut the value of Queensland's gold-plated poles and wires networks and pass on the savings to consumers.
The AIP research, conducted by economist and former LNP Federal candidate Jonathan Pavetto, was based on data recently released by the Australian Energy Market Operator.
It found Stanwell's Tarong plant near Kingaroy would be forced to close first in 2018-19 as the first tranche of solar and wind farms, that have struck undisclosed power purchasing agreements with the state, come online.
This would be followed by two units at Gladstone Power Station in 2020-21 and Stanwell's Rockhampton station in 2026-27.
"When the 50 per cent renewable policy is in full force, the risk of statewide blackouts will become a real risk for up to 15 per cent of the year, the equivalent of the combined months of January and February each year," the report said.
The report found forcing out Government-owned coal stations would be a significant blow to Treasury's coffers with dividends evaporating and subsidies skyrocketing.
"The Queensland Government risks losing its entire dividend stream from its energy (companies) due to loss of income from Stanwell Corporation and a need to write-down redundant network assets," AIP said.
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The Government's Renewable Energy Panel found Labor's 50 per cent target would strip the generators of up to $1.1 billion in revenue.
While it surmised the coal-fired stations would stay open, it conceded a proper analysis of the impact of the policy was "outside the scope" of its work.
Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the Government had "no plans for closure".
Mr Bailey said coal and gas generators would "continue to play a significant role in Queensland to 2030".
"We have the youngest, least emission-intensive fleet of coal-fired generation in the country which is well placed to continue to supply reliable electricity as we make the transition to a clean energy future," he said.