Galilee Basin Power Project

From Global Energy Monitor

The Galilee Basin Power Project is a notional 1,200 megawatt mine-mouth coal-fired power station proposed to be built in the Galilee Basin to supply electricity to North Queensland, Australia.


The map below shows the Galilee Basin in North Queensland, the approximate location where the plant would be built.

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Project proposal

The concept for the project was endorsed in a June 2014 federal government funded consultancy report undertaken for Townsville Enterprise. The report stated that an 800 MW mine-mouth coal-fired plant would cost A$1.778 billion.[1]

GHD Group of Australia and Australian Electricity Market Organisation estimated that electricity generation capacity may be required by the early 2020s in North Queensland - largely as a result of the growth in coal seam gas projects - and that a greenfield coal-fired power station in the Galilee Basin may be viable if connected to the National Electricity Market via a new high-voltage transmission line.[1]

The GHD report stated that "the most financially-viable power station concept that satisfied the Study criteria is linked to availability of low-cost fuel (coal) that may be available from the proposed Galilee Basin coal mines." However, the report noted that "investor reluctance to participate in coal fired generation may be a barrier to development."[1]

The consultants estimated that the cost of the transmission line would be US$200 million, and that "the pathway forward for this power station project involves establishing the relationship with a host miner in the Galilee Basin and establishing the basis of coal supply and integration of infrastructure such as water and transmission."[1]


In April 2013 the then federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, announced $2.5 million grant to Townsville Enterprise to fund "a study of the power requirements for North Queensland to help maximise future economic development opportunities in the region." Swan stated that the funding the only base load power supply available to North Queensland is generated south of Rockhampton, making it cost-prohibitive for many resource projects being explored in the Northern Galilee Basin. "Fundamental to unlocking these future economic opportunities is the provision of adequate and affordable base load power supply and the associated transmission requirements," Swan's media release stated.[2]

In April 2016, Queensland MP Ewen Jones suggested that the government could use funds from Direct Action, as well as the Australian Government-owned Green Bank (known as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation) and the northern Australian infrastructure fund, to support development of the 1.2GW coal-fired generator in north Queensland. It is stated that the plant would support Adani Group's proposed Carmichael coal mine, and bring the remaining power to the national energy market.[3]

As of December 2019 there have been no further developments toward securing these funds or needed permits since the 2014 initial proposal, and the project appears to be cancelled.

Lobbying for government largesse

The report states that the "opportunity for new base-load generation in Queensland is finite" and that a Galilee Basin power station would "need to enter the market ahead of competing power station projects."

GHD summarises the "pathway strategies to positively influence the base load power station project" as being:[4]

  • "Establishing a relationship with a coal supplier will help lock in coal supply and cost and enable sharing of early stage capital for development expenditure (or a coal miner in the Galilee Basin could be an investor, or the sole developer);
  • "Developing strategies to approach the Queenland Government for assistance in achieving the CSO reduction and northern development benefits including addressing preferred location, transmission connection costs, off-take contracts or formation of a regional gen-tailer";
  • "Initiating detailed water availability assessment and generation technology optimisation";
  • "Initiating the connection process for access to NEM including route selection"
  • "Assessing carbon price risk impacts on equity (including engaging with Government) as required to ensure cost of capital is acceptable."


  • April 2013: federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, announces $2.5 million grant to Townsville Enterprise to fund study of power project;[2]
  • June 2014: report proposing power station released.[1]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: None as yet
  • Parent company: None as yet
  • Location: mine-mouth power plant in the Galilee Basin
  • Coordinates:47.783889, 108.372222 (approximate)
  • Status: Cancelled
  • Gross Capacity: 1,200 MW
  • Type:
  • Projected in service: early 2020's
  • Coal Type: Black
  • Coal Source: yet to be decided Galilee Basin mine
  • Source of financing: Unknown

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