Renewables the key in South Australia's energy plan

Posted March 16, 2017

Of the plan's total announced cost of $550 million, $360 million will be spent building a new 250-megawatt gas-fired power plant.

While South Australia's Premier Jay Weatherill is towing a similar line on raising gas output, his plan directs utilities to act "in the interests" of the state, potentially in conflict with the national electricity market.

A plan to bolster the security of South Australia's energy market is an extensive, and expensive, strategy which aims to make power supplies more reliable and cheaper in the longer term.

"AGL looks forward to working with the South Australian government on these reforms", said the company, also Australia's largest listed renewable energy generator.

Image: Australia intends to increase energy security and boost competition.

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

Soaring energy prices could force Brickworks to shift its manufacturing overseas and end more than a century of making bricks in Australia.

"So there won't be a repeat of a situation where a gas-peaking power plant is called on by the regulator to produce electricity during a heatwave, and there's no gas available", he told the media in Canberra.

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

Turnbull has left no doubt over who he deems responsible for the debacle and which sector holds the key to a solution: "Unfortunately state and territory bans are putting at risk thousands of jobs by stopping the development of our gas reserves even by conventional means, the only sustainable way to guarantee affordable gas reserves is through the responsible development of our gas", the Prime Minister said.

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"Our State has built its reputation on clean, green environment and this plan recognises that clean energy is our future".

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

The South Australian Government move aligns perfectly with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative - one of the flagship outcomes of the Paris Climate Change Agreement (COP21, December 2015).

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

Having more gas supply would "take the upward pressure off " the price of gas used for electricity generation, it said.

It comes two days after another local ASX-listed player, Carnegie Clean Energy, said that it had been in discussions with the SA government to provide battery storage for the state's network.

The Government says it will build the largest battery system in Australia (100MW) to store wind and solar energy.

"South Australia will now lead our nation's transformation to the next generation of renewable storage technologies and create an global reputation for high-tech industries".

French company Engie, which owns the existing gas-fired power station at Pelican Point, declined to comment.