THE wholesale price of electricity could be cut by a quarter within two years, according to the Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor.
Mr Taylor made the disclosure when he accompanied the Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd to the Boyne Island Smelter this week as they laid blame for high local power prices on the Queensland Government.
Reliable, affordable energy was vital to energy-intensive industries in the Gladstone region, Mr Taylor said, adding the Federal Government was examining projects in Central and North Queensland through the Underwriting New Generation Investments program.
As an objective of the progam, the Government will be targeting a 25 per cent reduction in wholesale prices by the end of 2021, Mr Taylor said.
"Businesses are struggling under the weight of power prices in Central and North Queensland," Mr Taylor said.
"The Federal Government is taking strong action through our Underwriting New Generation Investments program to address supply and affordability issues, especially for energy-intensive and trade-exposed customers in the region."
But he said Queenslanders were being short-changed by their own political leaders.
"The Palaszczuk Labor Government could lower prices for Queenslanders tomorrow," Mr Taylor said. "Instead they continue to take from the pockets of hardworking Queenslanders to prop up their state budget."
In its Budget, the Federal Government set aside $10 million over two years to develop a detailed plan and identify viable locations for firm generation including coal, gas, pumped hydro, and biomass opportunities, including Gladstone and Collinsville.
Mr O'Dowd said it was important to understand energy generation and supply issues impacting some of the big employers in the region, including Boyne Island Smelter.
"The Coalition values the contribution of workers at sites such as Boyne Smelters - these are the people who continue to drive Queensland's exports and economy because of the reliable and affordable power provided by our coal-fired power stations.
"Customers, big and small, are at the centre of the Liberal National Government's Fair Deal on Energy policy. We are committed to keeping prices down while we keep the lights on."