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SA heading for 95% renewable energy within a decade: report

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South Australia will produce 95 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, a report from global financial services company Deutsche Bank says.

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South Australia’s current renewable energy target is 50 per cent by 2025.

But according to projections by Deutsche Bank in a market research report assessing renewable energy company Tilt, South Australia will easily meet and exceed that target.

“In 2014, South Australia introduced a target to be at 50 per cent renewable generation by 2025, and has a committed $10 billion investment target by this date,” the report reads.

“We expect the state to easily achieve this, currently at 40 per cent (renewable energy) and with a significant development pipeline.

“We assess that after closures the state would be long 4.5TWh of energy and be 95 per cent renewable – far above the current 50 per cent target.”

However, a State Government spokesperson this afternoon described the report as “extremely speculative”.

“This is an extremely speculative report that makes predictions that are not in line with current AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) forecasting,” the spokesperson said.

“It assumes current gas generation in South Australia will exit the market, something that is not forecast by AEMO – Gas will be a key lower emissions fuel to support the transition to a carbon constrained future energy supply. 

“But the report does reveal a lack of certainty among energy generation proponents about how the Federal Government plans to meet its carbon reduction commitments.”

The spokesperson added that the Government favoured “a national policy that provides for an orderly exit of coal from the market and a smooth transition to a carbon constrained future”.

“The State Government is advocating for an Emissions Intensity Scheme at a national level because it would be the lowest-cost mechanism for providing that certainty,” the spokesperson said.

SA’s renewable energy concentration became the subject of national controversy in the aftermath of the statewide blackout in September, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arguing high levels of renewable energy had endangered the state’s energy security.

According to reports from the Australian Energy Market Operator, nine wind farms shut down during the blackout, triggered by the day’s fierce storm, causing multiple faults on the grid.

However, AEMO reported, the “intermittency” of energy produced by wind farms was not a factor in the blackout.

Opposition Energy spokesperson Dan van Holst Pellekaan told InDaily in a statement this morning: “Leaving South Australia reliant on almost 100 per cent renewable energy will expose us to even higher electricity prices and more blackouts.”

“Renewable energy is an important resource but until it can be stored it remains unreliable and expensive because it doesn’t deliver electricity when it’s not windy or sunny,” he said, adding the Government’s energy policies had delivered “the most expensive and least reliable electricity in the nation”.

“We must transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy, but South Australia is already paying a steep price for an over reliance on renewable energy before large scale storage is viable,” he said.

A spokesperson said the Liberal Party was “in the process of developing a comprehensive energy policy”, but that under a Liberal government, all new development applications for new wind farms would have to include an electricity market impact assessment.

Friends of the Earth renewable energy spokesperson Leigh Ewbank said the transition to renewables had to be carefully planned to maximise job creation and minimise negative economic impact.

“The analysis of financial heavyweight Deutsche Bank shows South Australia is on it’s way to 100 per cent renewable energy – but will it be jobs rich or jobs poor?

“It’s time for Premier Jay Weatherill and Opposition Leader Steven Marshall to show political leadership and detail their plans for a 100 percent renewable South Australia.”

InDaily contacted the Deutsche Bank and the State Government for comment.

Tilt chief executive Robert Farron told InDaily the 95 per cent figure had not been discussed with the company.

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