THE Collinsville power station could reach construction stage within 18 months

By Rae Wilson

THE Collinsville power station could reach construction stage within 18 months and be operational within five years.

The project is a step closer after the Federal Government announced this week it would receive a share of the $10million for energy projects in north and central Queensland.

Dawson MP George Christensen, who has been campaigning for a coal-fired power station in North Queensland, said he was not sure what proportion of the $10million was going to Collinsville but he had pitched $5million to federal energy minister Angus Taylor.

"They need to identify the source of coal, work out the costs, what they can do in terms of contracts to get the best price, work out who they are going to supply, whether there will be offtake agreements or whether it's going to pump into the grid, they need to work out where the workforce will come from,” he said.

Mr Christensen said the coal-fired power station would be viable unless there was a carbon tax, so he expected Shine Energy to seek a commitment from both sides of politics that the project would be exempt.

The original power station was commissioned in 1968 and shut down last year.

Shine Energy has been operating a solar plant on that site.

CEO Ashley Dodd told Sky News it would cost about $2billion to build the power station. But he said the key to ensuring the power station's viability was a protection from future legislative changes around carbon pricing.

Mr Dodd said he had already submitted environmental documents to the State Government and had meetings with electricity companies.

"We signed eight confidentially agreements with potential off-takers with heavy industry,” he said. "We are onto the fast track towards bankable feasibility that will lead to financial close."