SA government electrifies with new power plan

SA government electrifies with new power plan

Sustainable Business Australia (SBA) today welcomed today's announcement by the Government of South Australia of a $550 million plan to deliver security in pricing and supply of energy, partly through the establishment of a grid connected battery storage system.

Federal PM Malcolm Turnbull recently slammed South Australia and other states for their reliance on renewable energy, saying it was this very reliance that threatened the country with power shortages.

Turnbull's intervention comes less than a month after he blamed state Labor governments' renewable energy targets for rising prices, blackouts and energy shortages.

"They have given us a guarantee that gas will be available to meet demand", Mr Turnbull said.

South Australian treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said a tender for the battery plant would be held as soon as possible to ensure the installation was completed by next summer.

"The package is a serious response to the state's problems".

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The Taskforce will include key Departments (PM&C, Energy, Industry, Treasury) and agencies (Geoscience Australia) and energy market bodies (AEMO, ACCC/AER, AEMC).

"I can say that the gas companies, I have no doubt, are very well aware they operate with the benefit of a social license from the Australian people".

He also flagged concern over the government's proposal to bring in new powers to intervene in the functioning of the grid.

The company revealed that its New South Wales operations faced a 20% to 25% increase in gas prices and 50% in electricity costs within the next 12 months and said uncertainty in supply and expected increases impacted global competitiveness and curtailed Australian expansion.

Thirdly, South Australia's Minister for Energy will be given strong new powers to direct the national market in the case of an electricity supply shortfall. The big question now is if this response signals the end of national, integrated energy policy, or the start of the much-heralded transition to reliable, affordable, low-emissions energy.

"We are however disappointed to see that the age old addiction to fossil fuels like gas is too slowly abating for the nation's politicians".

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An official explained that the delegation would be flying on a smaller plane than normal and that press access would be limited. Past secretaries of state, both Republican and Democrat, have traditionally traveled with a small group of reporters.

The impact on prices would be extremely important to the scheme's implementation, it said.

Adelaide-based oil and gas producer Beach Energy, which focuses operations on the Cooper Basin, applauded the plan.

Mr Frydenberg, who will also attend the meeting, told reporters two-thirds of Australia's gas was being exported, including in some cases gas meant for the domestic market.

The meeting called on state and territory governments to revisit the restrictions on gas exploration and development, the Turnbull government said.

"This $150 million renewable energy fund is a practical, useful and sensible funding decision by the State Government of South Australia", said Claire O'Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

How do you convince the states to open up exploration to create more supply?

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