Hundreds of jobs in $48.5m major CQ power station overhaul
MORE than 300 extra workers will arrive at CS Energy's Callide Power Station on Saturday for a 56-day $48.5 million major overhaul.
Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher said the work, a major overhaul of Unit C4, proved the State Government's position on the future of coal-powered technology.
While he doesn't support the construction of a next-generation coal-fired power station, Mr Butcher said it was important to keep Queensland's existing coal plants running in "peak condition".
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The 320 major overhaul workers, of which 32% are from central Queensland will join the 205-strong workforce for the two-yearly overhaul.
Asked if 32% of local workers were enough, Mr Butcher said it was "quite a considerable amount".
"These are critical power stations ... it's specialist work," Mr Butcher said.
"They get paid pretty well to do this type of work, so if we can put food on the table for 32% of those workers from our region, that's a good result."
CS Energy, a State Government owned entity, opened Callide C in 2001 making it Australia's first supercritical power station.
The major overhaul comes amid the ongoing debate over what Australia's future energy mix will look like.
While the Queensland Labor Government has been criticised for its position on coal by the Australian Government, Mr Butcher said this investment proved his Government understood the power source's value.
But, he said pleas from the LNP, echoed by Gladstone region deputy mayor Chris Trevor, for a next generation coal-fired power station were little more than a "thought bubble".
He said the Federal Government would be hard pressed to find any companies keen to invest in new coal technologies.
"My theory is there's better ways we can produce energy and power in Queensland (like hydro or gas fired power stations)," he said.
"If someone wants to invest in a coal fired power station, whether it be in north Queensland or central Queensland, I would say good luck to them.
"We've done our homework on this and there aren't too many people interested other than the LNP Federal Government."
Mr Butcher said this upgrade was critical for the power station's continued role in Queensland's energy mix.
The two-month work comes ahead of Queensland's summer, the period where in 2017 the state's spot market power prices soared up.
Boyne Smelter Limited blamed the price rise for its production and job cuts earlier this year.
"What we don't want to see this coming year is what we saw in January, those massive spikes over the 10 to 15 minute period," Mr Butcher said.
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"By having capacity in our power stations, it will help prevent (those power price rises).
"It shouldn't happen, we shouldn't have those massive power price spikes that we saw."
Callide Power Station is comprised of two operating power plants, Callide B and C.
CS Energy owns 100% of Callide B and owns Callide C in a 50-50 joint venture with InterGen.
Other contractors working on the overhaul include Star Precision Electrical from Biloela and Toshiba, Howdens, Varleys, Brand and Intertek.