Curb on airconditioner use for Qld could be on cards
HOUSEHOLDS and businesses may be told to restrict airconditioner use and have power switched off on some hardwired appliances under plans to prevent blackouts during heatwaves this summer.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the Palaszczuk Government has flicked the switch on a blueprint to enforce a suite of extraordinary measures after being warned summer electricity use would hit a new record.
Under the Summer Preparedness Plan drawn up by the Government's Energy Security Taskforce, households and business could be told to set airconditioners to 26 degrees.
Power for hot water services and pool pumps on controlled-load tariffs may switched off and rerouted during times of peak demand, while businesses may be told to turn off advertising lights and prevent any other non-essential electricity use.
In a statement released today, Treasurer Curtis Pitt and Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the plan focuses on the critical issue of power system security and reliability.
"The report demonstrates that the state has more electricity supply than ever before to help meet peak forecast summer demand levels," Mr Pitt said.
"Queensland is an electricity powerhouse and exports excess electricity almost all of the time.
Mr Bailey said the addition of Stanwell's Swanbank E gas fired power station and the enhancement of CS Energy's Wivenhoe's Power Station has increased generation capacity by 435MW ensuring there is adequate reserve above forecast peak demand.
"An additional 140MW of renewable energy will also be added to North Queensland over summer, including the commissioning of the 100 MW Clare Solar Farm," Mr Bailey said.
"Medium Term forecasts from the AEMO indicate Queensland will have around 11,445MW to meet its predicted summer demand peaks of 9,790 megawatts."
Mr Bailey said despite the secure supply, Queenslanders can also help by being vigilant with their power use this summer which will also help reduce their power bills.
"We can't change the fact that Queensland will continue to have heatwaves and extreme weather events, and while we cannot predict every risk scenario the Taskforce has presented a way forward for the short and medium-term," he said.
"To further strengthen our network security the plan includes the expansion of the PeakSmart program into regional Queensland, which offers cash incentives of up to $400 to consumers to encourage the installation of energy efficient air conditioners.
"This program rewards households for helping to keep our grid secure by reducing demand at peak times in a way that most households don't even notice.
"Our Energy Security Taskforce has confirmed the AEMO projections that Queensland is in a strong position to deliver a reliable and safe electricity supply through summer."