Gladstone Power Station manager John Abbott.
Gladstone Power Station manager John Abbott. Luka Kauzlaric

New power station manager has plans to stay competitive

BEING competitive in a challenging and changing market will keep Gladstone's power station running at its best.

That's the philosophy of new NRG Gladstone Power Station chief John Abbott, who has returned to Gladstone to take on the role.

He said changes to government regulations, market pressures and in the exchange rate all affected the business environment.

Maintaining the ageing asset was also a large part and later this year the power station will undergo a once-every-four-years major unit shutdown to upgrade and overhaul equipment.

Mr Abbott has also enjoyed coming back to where he began his career, but said he had a "déjÀ vu feeling" seeing people who still worked there, "but looking a little older and greyer like I am" since his time in 1980.

The power station's main role is to provide energy to Boyne Smelters Ltd, with a secondary role in the broader energy market.

Mr Abbott said the market in Queensland was still very challenging, from the effects of rooftop solar panels to gas fired generation and the unknown of LNG production.

"You always look for the ways to make yourself the most competitive in a market and you'll always do better than if you're not competitive," he said.

"That's the obligation that NRG has to the owners, and that's the philosophy I'll have moving forward."

He said the carbon tax had a major impact on the power station, and while the legislation exists it is a cost that all of industry is wearing.

Mr Abbott said it was too early to tell whether NRG would go through more redundancies following those announced in October.

"We have to be in a position to be able to adapt and make the changes necessary to continue to be a viable operation," he said.

"The trick with asset management is to spend the right amount of money and meet the requirements of our owners and the market.

"If you stay still you're actually being left behind."


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