Australian news, and some related international items

South Australia’s Liberal government now happy with progress towards 75% renewables target

South Australia on track to meet 75% renewables target Liberals promised to scrap, Guardian,  Adam Morton , 26 July 18 

Liberal energy minister, who inherited policy criticised as a mix of ‘ideology and idiocy’, says he’ll ensure it does not come at too high a price 

South Australia’s energy minister says the state is on track to have 75% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025 – the target set by the former Labor premier Jay Weatherill and once rejected by his Liberal government.  And Dan van Holst Pellekaan pledged to ensure it does not come at too high a price.

But several expert analyses have found the state is likely to meet or nearly meet the aspirational target, which was not tied to a policy mechanism. The Australian Energy Market Operator has projected South Australia would have 73% renewable power by 2020/21 while consultants Green Energy Markets found it could reach 74% by 2025 without any additional policies being introduced.

The South Australian energy and mining minister, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said that was also his understanding. “That’s what the reports I’ve read are saying,” he said. “We need to harness it properly so consumers aren’t paying too high a price along the way.”

Van Holst Pellekaan has responsibility for shaping the future of energy in a state that already gets about half its electricity from variable sources such as wind and solar – a situation that Weatherill described in 2015 as “a big international experiment”. The new minister has inherited some of Labor’s proposed solutions, including a giant lithium-ion battery, a 20-year power purchase contract to underwrite a solar thermal plant with built-in storage and a “virtual power plant” of solar and batteries across public housing sites. ……..

Speaking in his electorate office in Port Augusta, home to the state’s coal power until the last plant closed in 2016, and now with up to 13 clean energy at varying stages of development including the solar thermal project, van Holst Pellekaan said the shift from coal to more clean energy in South Australia had been messier than it needed to be, but was inevitable.

“We must transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it. And we need to do it sensibly.”

……… South Australia is also backing small-scale storage. Under a deal signed by Labor, the government is installing a “virtual power plant” – initially 1,100 solar panels and Tesla batteries in public housing backed by a $30m loan from taxpayers.

Van Holst Pellekaan announced last week an initial trial had been a success, increasing supply and the reliability of the network and lowering cost at times of peak demand. He said delivering Labor’s full promise of 50,000 public housing systems depended on private-sector financing and Tesla and the government signing off on the final program design.

The Labor scheme will sit alongside a Liberal-pledged $100m plan to subsidise batteries at 40,000 private homes. Details are promised in coming months………

He stressed the importance of improved connection between the states, particularly a long-mooted link between South Australia and New South Wales, to improve grid efficiency and reliability. The transmission company ElectraNet has recommended a $1.5b interconnector between South Australia’s mid-north and Wagga Wagga.

Van Holst Pellekaan, a National Basketball League player in the 1980s with the Hobart Devils, said South Australia’s energy policies were in line with recent advice from the Australia Energy Market Operator and the competition and consumer watchdog…..


July 26, 2018 - Posted by | energy, politics, South Australia

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