Profits keep turbines running: With Queensland receiving 2.5c per kilowatt hour for power, which costs 1.3c to produce, the estimated profit over the two years is $140 million. Tarong Energy sources said that during this time – and as the debate over water planning became a key state election issue – two of the station’s five generators could have been temporarily shut down to reduce water consumption.
Full throttle despite water curbs: Instead, Tarong operated at near full capacity as water restrictions in Brisbane and elsewhere were tightened. At the same time, central Queensland generators at Callide, Gladstone and Rockhampton operated at reduced capacity.
Beattie’s "beat-up" not so: Premier Peter Beattie had dismissed as a “beat-up” revelations in The Australian that Wivenhoe Dam was running dry as the Swanbank and Tarong power stations supplied NSW with electricity the state did not need. Mr Beattie claimed the amount of water drawn by Swanbank was “bugger-all”.
Massive take from Wivenhoe: In fact, Swanbank is drawing about 25 million litres of water a day for cooling from Wivenhoe Dam, with the Tarong North generator taking up to 30 million litres. Four other Tarong generators have depended on water from the dam when supplies from Kingaroy’s Bundoomba Dam have been unreliable. Queensland Energy Minister Geoff Wilson and Tarong Energy declined to comment yesterday.
Call for commonwealth action: Australian Water Association chief executive Chris Davis said power blackouts loomed in some states as authorities grappled with the competing demands of water conservation and power generation. “The commonwealth really needs to be doing more to get a grip on this,” Davis said.