SA Liberals release ‘energy solution’

South Australian Liberal leader Steven Marshall has announced an energy plan to bring energy bills down and prevent blackouts.

The Liberal Energy Solution includes a $200 million interconnection fund to improve connectivity with the National Electricity Market, as well as a $100 million household battery program.

The plan would also involve opting out of a state government-built and owned gas generator in SA by 2019.

After that, a reverse auction system will be implemented to ensure additional emergency generation is available and avoid “wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on a white elephant government-owned power station”.

The solution will also provide means-tested grants averaging $2500 to facilitate the installation of batteries in 40,000 homes.

“We are going to back South Australians who want to take charge of their electricity generation and consumption,” Mr Marshall said.

“Our battery program will focus on South Australians, not celebrity billionaires.

“Greater interconnection will enable us to export more of our renewable energy when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing, and import reliable baseload energy when we need it.”

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren welcomed the energy plan’s commitment to a national, market-based approach in its policy announcement today.

He said the proposed shift away from a state-based renewable energy target towards a national approach was consistent with the recommendations of the Finkel review.

“The SA government shouldn’t need to support new energy investment if we get the national policy settings right,” Mr Warren said.

“That is money that could be used more effectively in the state.

“For the same reason, the industry does not support committing government money towards building any key energy infrastructure, including an interconnector to NSW.

“Without a national plan, an interconnector to NSW could make electricity market conditions worse in SA, not better.

“Electricity interconnection has an important role to play, but these are expensive, strategic assets that need to be carefully considered.”