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Energy News

Water management at Kogan Creek Power Station

Did you know that water is crucial in the process of generating electricity? We have a number of sustainable and efficient water management practices in place, including using a combination of recycled, raw and town water in our operations.

Kogan Creek Power Station, near Chinchilla on Queensland’s Western Downs, is our most water efficient plant.

Unlike many traditional coal-fired power stations, Kogan uses dry cooling technology, which uses 95% less water.

CS Energy employee walking on the top level of the air-cooled condenser
CS Energy employee walking on the top level of the air-cooled condenser

Kogan has an air-cooled condenser that uses large fans to cool and condense exhaust steam after it has left the turbine, so it can be reused again. The limited water the power station does use is sourced from local bores and surface water run-off that’s been collected in dams.

An onsite water clarification plant was introduced in 2016 and is used to recycle stormwater for use in plant operations. This has led to a 20% annual reduction in bore water use.  In instances where high quality water is required, Kogan Creek Power Station can treat additional sources of water for use in the boiler, or provide a back-up water source in the event of drought or a bore failure.

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Community Energy News

CS Energy to defend corporate-backed class action

20 JAN 2021

CS Energy will defend a class action lodged by a law firm and funded by corporate backers.

CS Energy Chief Executive Officer Andrew Bills said CS Energy rejected the claims being made and said the company operated in strict accordance with, and took very seriously, its obligations with all rules and regulations in the National Electricity Market.

“CS Energy is strongly committed to complying with all market rules and regulations and we’ve dedicated substantial resources to ensuring we meet our obligations,” Mr Bills said.

“Our bidding activity is regulated under the National Electricity Law and the National Electricity Rules by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

“We have one of the most highly regulated and competitive electricity markets in the world, with prices set every five minutes.”

The AER investigates and publicly reports on the causes of all high-price events in the wholesale electricity market.

Previous investigations have found high wholesale prices to be due to a wide range of influencing factors, including extreme weather fluctuations.

Queenslanders should question who will benefit from a claim like this – is it Queenslanders or a corporate litigation funder whose main interest is making a return on their investment in class actions?

As a Queensland-based and publicly owned Queensland business, the proposed class action is pursuing the revenues that we return to the state which are used to fund important services for all Queenslanders.

Mr Bills said CS Energy owned two of the most efficient coal-fired power stations in the country, providing affordable and reliable baseload power to millions of Queensland businesses and residents.

“We have a proud track record of delivering increased competition and savings for electricity consumers in South East Queensland through our joint venture with Alinta Energy, as reported by the Australian Energy Market Commission.”

Publicly available data shows that Queensland has had the lowest average wholesale electricity prices in the National Electricity Market for the past three years.

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Community Energy News

Making our customers a priority

Earlier this month we published our annual Energy Charter Disclosure report, which outlines the work we’ve been doing to ensure we are as consumer-centric as possible, in line with the Australian Energy Charter.

This business-led charter, which counts 19 Australian energy companies as members, guides our progress toward becoming a more community and consumer-focused business, and this year’s report outlines steps we’ve taken to better understand our customers’ needs. We are proud to have either delivered on, or made progress against all areas of improvement we identified in our 2019 report.

We measured this by conducting our first independent customer survey and we’re already taking steps to give our customers the innovative energy solutions they’re asking for, such as electric vehicle charging stations and improved billing and information systems.

We are proud to have doubled the number of commercial and industrial retail customers we serve across Queensland while recording our safest year on record. We are committed to continuing to safely and efficiently provide best-in-class innovation and services as we become a diversified energy company.

This is a long-term commitment for CS Energy and is being driven from our senior levels of management. We look forward to growing even closer to our customers and stakeholders in the coming years.

You can download our 2020 Energy Charter Disclosure Report. (PDF 1.5MB)

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Energy News

Signing up to solar

We are adding more renewables into our energy mix, recently signing a new solar offtake agreement.

We’ll be buying surplus solar power from the University of Queensland’s Warwick Solar Farm to pass on to our Queensland government customers.

This gives our customers greater choice – we can provide them with tailored solutions, supplying green products and supporting them with energy from our thermal generation assets. This ensures they have lower carbon, reliable, and competitively-priced power.

With more than 200,000 solar panels, the university’s solar farm generates about 160,000 megawatts of clean energy every year – this equates to powering more than 25,000 households.

It allows the university to offset its own energy use, making it the first major university in the world to switch to 100 per cent renewables produced from their own assets.  UQ sells the surplus energy into the market – a portion of which will now be supplied to CS Energy.

Increasing the diversity of CS Energy’s energy products with more renewables supports the Queensland government’s target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

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Energy News

Securing sunshine – Columboola Solar Farm agreement

We are excited to have signed a long-term contract with the planned Columboola Solar Farm in Queensland to add more renewables to our energy portfolio, drive forward energy investment in Queensland, and power the equivalent of 100,000 homes. 

The 162-megawatt Columboola Solar Farm will deliver power to CS Energy’s large commercial and industrial customers, including major employers such as Griffith University, CQUniversity and QUT.

Columboola will draw on numerous innovations to ensure efficient land use, such as bifacial panels that absorb light from both the front and back and single-axis trackers that follow the sun throughout the day.

CS Energy is focused on investing for Queensland’s future and has recently invested in offtakes for several renewable energy projects across the state as we look to build a stable and sustainable energy grid for the future. While established power plants will have an important role to play for years to come, we’re excited about the role we’re playing to help transition Queensland’s power grid to at least 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. 

Our contract with the Columboola Solar Farm is just one piece of the puzzle to guarantee affordable and reliable power to Queenslanders, and we’re incredibly proud to be supporting this great project.

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Energy News

Moving to a renewable future

Australia’s energy mix is rapidly changing. As demand grows for renewable sources of energy, we are diversifying our business to meet the needs of our customers and the market.

We are transitioning our business to a lower-emission economy by offering renewables to our large commercial and industrial customers by partnering with renewable energy facilities.

The Queensland Government has a strong commitment to increase the state’s use of renewable energy and has set a target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

As a Queensland-owned energy business, we play an important role in supporting this renewable energy target.

CS Energy has added renewable energy to our portfolio through agreements with the Columboola Solar Farm, Warwick Solar Farm and Kennedy Energy Park.

Through these partnerships, we can offer our customers green products and support them with energy from our thermal generation assets, ensuring they have lower carbon, reliable and competitively-priced power.

The Queensland Government has set out its strategy for the coming years in its Powering Queensland Plan, to help navigate the short- and long-term challenges facing Australia’s energy market.

Improving electricity affordability, contributing to the achievement of Queensland’s 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, supporting secure and reliable electricity generation, and creating new investment and jobs in regional Queensland is among its responsibilities.

Queenslanders had the lowest wholesale electricity prices in the NEM from FY2017 to FY2020.

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Energy News

The Queensland energy market and customers

As a customer, you buy your electricity through a retailer. Your retailer, the company that sends you your electricity bills, manages your energy purchases from the market, and pays the Australian Energy Market Operator.

What you pay your retailer includes the costs of generating and supplying you with electricity and can include:

  • network costs -– building and maintaining all the equipment and infrastructure needed to distribute electricity, such as poles, wires, and meter readers.
  • wholesale costs – this is what your retailer pays for your wholesale electricity
  • environmental/green schemes – contributions to compulsory state and federal government environmental/renewable schemes
  • retail services – what you pay your retailer for their services, such as customer service and metering services

What role does CS Energy play in the energy market?

We are an electricity generator and we sell electricity from the Callide B and Kogan Creek power stations, which we own and manage, to the National Electricity Market. We also have a 50% stake in the Callide C power station, which also feeds electricity into the market and we trade some of the energy generated by Gladstone Power Station.

We own the Kogan Creek Mine at western Darling Downs near Chinchilla, which supplies the Kogan Creek Power Station.

We are proudly Queensland owned and based.

Fast facts about the energy market

  • There are more than 200 registered participants in the National Electricity Market (NEM), including market generators, transmission network service providers, distribution network service providers, and market customers.
  • The NEM started operating as a wholesale spot market for electricity in December 1998.
  • The NEM consists of about 40,000km of transmission lines and cables and supplies about 200 terawatt-hours of electricity to businesses and households each year.
  • The NEM supplies about 10 million customers.
  • The NEM has a total electricity generating capacity of 55,269 MW (as at April 2020).
  • The NEM has about 9,980 MW of distributed solar (as of May 2020).

*Source: Australian Energy Market Operator

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Energy News

What is the National Electricity Market?

The National Electricity Market is a 5,000 km-long power system for five Australian regions – Queensland, New South Wales (including the Australian Capital Territory), South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. It is one of the world’s longest interconnected power systems.

It carries power from electricity generators, like Callide and Kogan Creek power stations, to large industrial energy users and local electricity distributors.

The National Electricity Market is one of the most highly regulated and competitive markets in the world. Electricity prices are set every five minutes – there is no more competitive market than that.

Queensland has had the lowest average wholesale electricity prices in the National Electricity Market for the past three years.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) manages the market, helping to ensure that Australians have access to reliable, secure and affordable electricity.

How does it work?

Generators offer to supply the market with an amount of electricity at a certain price for a specific time period. They can re-submit the amount at any time.

AEMO considers the offers and decides which generators will be used to produce electricity, with the cheapest generator put into operation first.

This process is designed to meet everyone’s electricity demands in the most cost-efficient way.

All electricity sales are made through the NEM. Because it is a wholesale market, prices fluctuate in response to supply and demand.

Who or what makes up Queensland’s electricity supply?

There are 4 different stages from generating electricity to delivering it to people’s homes and businesses.

  1. Generation– Power stations generate electricity using a range of fuel sources and are both government-owned and private companies.
  2. Transmission– Before it can be fed into the electricity network, electricity needs to be increased in voltage to reduce losses. It is then transported via the transmission network to distribution networks.
  3. Distribution– Once it reaches the distribution network, electricity voltage is reduced before it is supplied to homes.
  4. Retail– Retailers buy electricity on the wholesale market and sell it to customers.