Reliant Power has confirmed it is going to invest $250m in the next three years to build two new coal-burning power stations in Queensland.
The company said in a statement it would build two power stations at Lismore and Cairns, two at Bowen and one at Wivenhoe.
The announcement comes after the company announced its first-quarter profit of $14m, which came after a loss of $16m in its first three months of the year.
Reliant said it was looking to improve its coal-fueled power station infrastructure to support the next wave of expansion.
Reliance is one of the biggest proponents of coal-based power plants, with its subsidiary, CGT, building a massive $1.5bn gas-fired plant in Townsville and the $1 billion gas-and-coal plant at Wollongong.
It also operates three power plants in Queensland, with a total of 18,000 megawatts of capacity.
The new coal power stations are expected to be operational in 2019.
Reliable, cost-effective energy source Reliant, which is Australia’s biggest power company by market value, has said it will buy about 200 million tonnes of coal a year, equivalent to about a quarter of its total annual coal production.
The purchase comes after Reliant bought the assets of the NSW-based Westpac Coal and Power Corporation (WCPC) for $2.8 billion in July.
In October, Reliant announced it would purchase about $1tn worth of coal from two other large coal producers, the Murrayfield and Carmichael projects.
This comes after its parent company, Sinopec, bought the rights to operate the Murray River coal mine in Australia for $4.5 billion.
It was the largest deal ever for a coal miner in Australia.
Relentless expansion plans for the coal sector Source: News.co.uk article Reliance has long said it wanted to expand the country’s coal-mining capacity.
In a 2016 submission to the federal government’s energy policy review, the company said it would be building “an extensive network of coal mining facilities across Australia”.
The company has previously said it planned to build another 800 megawatts (MW) of coal capacity by 2020.
The report suggested coal could be one of Australia’s most sustainable sources of energy and its emissions-free generation could be achieved through the use of “alternative fossil fuels”.
It also said Australia would need to invest in the “capacity management” of coal production, which would involve building and maintaining large coal-powered plants and maintaining a “low carbon, low emission” economy.
Reliances coal project is the first major coal purchase in the coal industry Reliance Energy is not the only coal company investing in coal projects, with companies such as Enbridge, Shell and the Commonwealth Bank also investing in the sector.
In March, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) issued a report recommending that the state of Queensland should develop its own coal-generation plant, which it said would be a cost-competitive alternative to the existing Queensland Gas and Coal (QGC) and Queensland Nickel (QNIC) coal projects.