While batteries – and big ones at that – dominated the headlines following the South Australian Government’s release this week of its new Energy Plan, underpinning the State’s suite of energy solutions is gas, and lots of it.
Of the six solutions detailed in the plan, four of them rely partly or entirely on natural gas – foremost among them the commitment to build a new State-owned gas generator. The proposed 250MW gas peaking plant would be the first State-funded generator since the privatisation of the State’s electricity industry, and is described as ‘a strategic future asset’.
The plan also prescribes a State-based Energy Security Target, modelled on similar global schemes to:
“..require energy retailers to get more electricity from cleaner generators that produce their electricity using South Australia’s abundant natural resources. In a move to increase South Australia’s energy self-sufficiency, retailers will be compelled to source a percentage of energy from local generators rather than from Victorian coal through the interconnector”
The Government will also introduce a new incentive program to drive SA more gas production, and in a significant move, will offer landholders a 10% share of royalties if their property overlies a petroleum field that is brought into production.
Predictably, the royalty incentive scheme has set the activist community’s dial to maximum outrage. Protest group Lock the Gate – who proclaim to stand on the side of farmers – apparently want to deny those same landholders the right to make an additional income stream from the resources they sit atop, which we predict will materialise into a regional scare campaign in coming months.
And the Greens have also jumped on the bandwagon, with State MLC Mark Parnell questioning the commitment to gas, while his federal leader Richard Di Natale told the National Press Club that “There is no longer a technical limit to moving to a renewable energy future” without once mentioning financial limits that result in the massive taxpayer-funded subsidies that underwrite wind and solar projects at the moment.
A notable aspect of the South Australian plan is the relative lack of reliance on renewable energy.
This shows the government does not buy the humbug of activist groups who have repeatedly stuck their heads in the sand over the recent power outages in SA, saying gas was to blame and that installation of more renewable energy would solve the problem.,
Having already heavily subsidised wind and solar in SA, the government has decided against installing further renewable energy generation, preferring the reliability of natural gas generation.
It’s gas to the rescue, again.