Shine Energy’s website (https://www.shineenergy.com.au/) proudly proclaims “Helping Australia Transition To A Low Emission Future” – so how did this solar company win a $4m grant for a feasibility study into a coal-fired power station?
Chief executive Ashley Dodd had big plans for his startup solar company, Shine Energy. “The dream is to become a big player in the power industry,” Dodd told the Koori Mail in 2017. Three years later, Shine Energy is the proponent of a $2bn coal-fired power station at Collinsville and the recipient of a $4m government grant for a feasibility study.
So what happened?
In 2019, in the months leading up to the federal election, articles in News Corp publications first began to refer to Shine Energy as the proponent of the coal-fired power proposal for north Queensland. Shine had submitted a plan to the government’s Underwriting New Generation Investment program, which was designed to assist the development of new power generation infrastructure, but failed to make the shortlist.
Instead, the Coalition made an election promise to fund a feasibility study, which helped to boost its successful rout of marginal central Queensland seats. The $4m allocation announced by government in February was made in unusual circumstances. The government designed specific ad hoc “grant guidelines for Shine Energy” that were then used to award the money.
The announcement Shine would receive funding was made on 8 February and two days later, the department contacted Shine and invited them to make an application for the specific grant. (yes, you read that right, they got the grant, then had to apply for it!!!)
Guardian Australia says the payment would be the first money the company – which has no physical office – has received since its formation in 2016.
In August 2020 they were given their first payment (https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/aug/29/shine-energy-gets-first-milestone-payment-of-36m-grant-for-collinsville-coal-plant).
Shine Energy: behind the push for a new coal-fired power station – https://www.michaelwest.com.au/shine-energy-behind-the-push-for-a-new-coal-fired-power-station/
Great Twitter thread from Simon Holmes à Court at https://twitter.com/simonahac/status/1298167511456702464