Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Instead of coming clean on policy failures, South Australia, the world’s renewable energy crash test dummy, has announced a decision to ditch free markets and assume direct government control of the electricity grid, in an effort to stabilise their self inflicted renewable energy nightmare.
SA power: Energy Minister to be given more control in state’s $500m plan to secure future
By political reporters Nick Harmsen and Angelique Donnellan
The South Australian Government has announced it will spend more than $500 million to build a new gas-fired power plant and Australia’s largest battery as it moves to secure the state’s energy supplies.
The government will build, own and operate a new $360 million, 250-megawatt gas-fired power plant
Australia’s largest battery will be built before next summer, by the private sector, and be funded from a $150 million renewable technology fund
SA’s energy minister will have the power to order a generator to be switched on if more supply is needed (a power held by the AEMO)
Announcing the energy plan in the wake of blackouts and load-shedding, SA Premier Jay Weatherill said his government would take control by ensuring the energy minister was given powers to direct the market.
The plan would involve building, owning and operating a $360 million, 250-megawatt gas-fired plant to provide power grid stability and for emergency power needs.
The private sector would build Australia’s largest battery before next summer, with a 100MW output, Mr Weatherill told a news conference.
The venture would be funded from a new $150 million renewable technology fund, he said.
“We think that a secure energy system should have multiple sources. It is a question of speed as well,” he said.
“A battery could be delivered quickly, we are advised, but we want multiple sources of redundancy, if you like, in our electricity system so that we have got more service efficiency.
“The other thing with a battery, which is attractive, is that it can be done quite economically. The battery can become essentially a player in the market and, to some degree, pay for itself.”
Gas-fired plant for emergency use
Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the gas-fired power plant could be turned on “in an emergency” if an electricity shortfall was forecast.
By seizing direct control of the grid, South Australian authorities are also assuming total responsibility for its stability. There will be nowhere to hide, next time their unreliable electric supply nightmare collapses.