Stanwell made a decision in 2014 to place Swanbank E Power Station into cold storage for a period of up to three years or until such time as there was a market need for it to return.
In recent months, we have seen a significant tightening in the balance between supply and demand in the National Electricity Market as a result of increasing demand in Queensland and the retirement of generation capacity in Victoria and South Australia. This was most pronounced during summer 2017 when a new Queensland peak electricity demand record was set on more than one occasion. On 12 February 2017, the reserve generation levels in Queensland (that is, the difference between available generation and demand) fell to a low not seen in more than a decade.
This narrowing between supply and demand has been a major contributor to increased wholesale and retail electricity prices.
The decision to return Swanbank E Power Station to full operational capacity is part of the Queensland Government’s plan to place downward pressure on electricity prices. It will ensure there is additional generation in the market to respond to the increasing demand which we expect to continue for the next couple of years and which will be most evident in summer 2018.
Read the Queensland Government media release.