The federal government has a shortlist of a dozen energy projects to potentially receive taxpayer support, including the upgrade of a coal-fired power station in NSW.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the projects would inject a total of 4000 megawatts of power into the National Electricity Market.
The shortlist includes gas, hydro and a “very small” coal upgrade at Lake Macquarie, Mr Morrison added.
As well, a feasibility study would be conducted into ways to meet the energy needs of heavy industry in north and central Queensland, including a project based at Collinsville, a central Queensland town that is home to the state’s oldest coal mine.
“We just want what is going to provide for the reliability that is necessary,” Mr Morrison said in Brisbane on Tuesday.
“These projects have been selected to undergo further examination and they’ll be able to present their case.
The government received 66 proposals to the underwriting new power generation scheme, which aims to inject more energy into the electricity grid while increasing competition.
This will eventually lead to lower bills, Energy Minister Angus Taylor argues.
Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, a long-time proponent of coal-fired power, tweeted his support for the announcement shortly after it was made:
So we have got ourselves a Coal Fired power station for Qld. Very good
— Barnaby Joyce (@Barnaby_Joyce) March 26, 2019
Registrations of interest for the underwriting scheme were due towards the end of January and a formal request for proposals was originally due by mid-year.
Further details of the dozen projects may be revealed in the April 2 budget.