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SA government turns to gas to solve energy crisis


The South Australian government has announced its plan to spend $500 million on a new gas-fired power plant and battery storage system, in an effort to stabilise the state’s energy supply.

The plan will involve building, owning and operating a 250 megawatt gas-fired plant and building a  battery storage system with a 100MW output.

Furthermore, legislation is being put forward to give the state energy minister the authority to order a South Australian power generator to be switched on if more supply is needed. This authority is currently held by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which has been criticised for its lack of action in recent power outages.

The plan is also intended to make South Australia self-efficient, supplying more of its own energy and ceasing to rely on the electricity interconnector with eastern Australia.

“We have a situation where we are reliant on Victorian coal instead of South Australian gas,” said South Australian premier Jay Weatherill.

“The stabilisation emerges because we have more generation on our side of the border, so we’re not reliant on the Victorian interconnector.”

According to Weatherill, the money for the plan will come from budget surpluses, as opposed to tax payers.

The plan has faced criticism however, with some disagreeing with the “islanding” of South Australia.

“We’re calling for a national solution,” Anthony Penny of Business SA told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We can’t afford for South Australia to be islanded.

“There is no point in South Australia intervening in a national market and then expecting that national market to work in our favour when it suits us. This will only cause other states to follow a similar isolationist pathway.”

On the other hand, AGL Energy, one of South Australia’s largest power generators, has announced its support of the plan. The company said the plan will improve energy competitiveness for South Australian businesses and households, and will make increasing renewable energy generation more cost-effective.

The Australian Services Union has also praised the plan for its potential to create more jobs in the energy sector. The plan will create at least 630 jobs, according to Weatherill.


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