State moves to secure energy supplies


QUEENSLAND'S energy generators have stockpiled coal and gas to ensure electricity keeps running while mobile generators are on standby, as the State Government braces for the inevitable impact coronavirus will have on staff.

The Courier-Mail can also reveal generators Stanwell and CS Energy have started looking at sharing critical staff.

Energy Queensland has split its around-the-clock control room crews to work from four venues as opposed to one while placing about 100 mobile diesel generators, some of which have the capacity to power a small regional town, on standby.

The generators are located across the state.

Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said just as they were ready for severe weather events, the state's energy businesses were ready for the inevitable impact of coronavirus on staffing.

"Our generators Stanwell and CS Energy have stockpiled critical supplies of coal and gas," he said.

"Scheduled outages are being assessed for possible rescheduling and critical staff, such as controllers, have been identified and will increasingly be segregated to reduce cross-infection."

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said yesterday the top priority for a scheduled COAG Energy Council meeting on Friday would be ensuring the national energy system was prepared for any escalation of the spread of COVID-19.



"Our priority must be to ensure Australia is well-placed to respond to energy supply disruptions, including electricity, gas and liquid fuels," he said.

"I will continue to communicate with energy retailers, generators, transmission and market operators regarding their emergency management plans."

Meanwhile Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane told The Courier-Mail there had been no material impact to FIFO operations at Queensland mines.

But he said companies were introducing extra screening measures such as temperature testing and health questionnaires at mines' entrances, camp sites and airstrips.

"Across mine sites there is an increased vigilance, in accordance with Queensland Health's public advice, with the risk of COVID-19 including enhanced sanitising efforts, activating work from home policies, social distancing in crib rooms and new screening measures," he said.