The Committee for Adelaide has pledged to work with the Weatherill Government in its delivery on a new State Energy Plan to identify private partners for various projects, investigate alternate funding models and explore ways to create new industries that can be exported globally.
“Ideally the electricity system needs to be urgently overhauled at a national level but in the absence of this, we broadly welcome the State Government’s measures to help ensure a more reliable supply of electricity,” Committee for Adelaide Chief Executive Officer Jodie van Deventer says.
“We’ve consistently stated there is no silver bullet solution to the electricity issue and that a range of measures are needed and the Government’s package reflects that. Power is fundamental to our State’s economic success and we are cautiously optimistic that these measures will help to address our immediate and potentially longer term needs.”
While the “devil is in the detail”, the Committee for Adelaide supported measures such as building Australia’s largest battery as well as other initiatives to store energy, incentives to free up more gas supply, the Government using its supply contract to attract new electricity generation and energy security targets. However, it noted concern about the cost to taxpayers of the $360m 250MW State-owned gas power plant and whether it would be up and running to offer an emergency solution by next summer. It pledged to work with the Government to:
- understand the options that had been explored, including the most effective way to finance and operate the facility and re-coup costs by allowing the on-sale of the facility to a private owner/operator at a later stage
- help identify private partners for energy storage
- explore ways to create new, globally export-ready industries arising out of an integrated system including gas, renewables and storage
Last month, a Committee for Adelaide delegation visited Canberra and met with the Prime Minister, Treasurer, Opposition MPs and Senators as well as the Nick Xenophon Team and the Greens, expressing concerns that some of the issues over electricity had become over simplified and politicised.
“South Australia is the canary in the coalmine when it comes to electricity and it is essential Australia goes back to the drawing board and designs a national system that can keep up with today’s technologies. We will keep on calling on Canberra to ensure this happens,” Ms van Deventer says.
Ms van Deventer said that while the electricity issue had impacted on business confidence and the State’s brand, it had the potential over the longer term create new opportunities for the State.
“The electricity market is changing dramatically and initiatives such as developing Australia’s largest battery will allow us to develop new industries in much the same way the drought created new industries and knowledge that we now export all over the world,” she said. “This has been a difficult period for South Australia and while there is still a lot of work to be done, we’re pleased to see significant steps being taken at a State level to start to turn things around.”