On 1 December 2015, the South Australian Government released a Low Carbon Investment Plan for South Australia, a landmark document which sets out how the state will achieve $10 billion in low carbon generation by 2025. The Plan is built around four key strategies for supporting low carbon generation investment in South Australia. These are a competitive policy and regulatory environment; providing information for investment; demonstrating use on the government’s own assets or using government procurement to sponsor uptake by others; and facilitating projects to leverage external funding.
Some key initiatives under the Plan include
- The release of the Bio-energy Roadmap for South Australia which the first stage in further developing South Australia’s bio-energy industry. The information released includes analysis of South Australia’s bio-energy potential and spatial data as a first step towards creating a substantial and sustainable bio-energy industry.
- An invitation to the energy industry to respond to an Expression of Interest for Low Carbon Electricity Supplies and Services to service up to 100% of the South Australian Government’s electricity needs.
- An expression of Interest for reducing emissions from the Government’s vehicle fleet and support for Adelaide’s first electric car share initiative incorporating solar PV and battery storage in the CBD.
Low Carbon Investment Plan
$10 billion target for Low Carbon Investment
South Australia's significant installed capacity in renewables translates into capital investment which benefits the regional and State economy. Since 2003, there has been $5.5 billion in investment in renewable energy with some $2 billion, or 40%, of this investment occurring in regional areas.
In October 2013, South Australia committed to an investment target of $10 billion in low carbon generation by 2025.This is in order to support a renewed economic development focus, and to further support South Australia’s ongoing push for increased renewable energy generation.
The target is an aspiration, subject to no material changes to Federal Government policy support for low carbon investment. The new target will be complementary to existing State targets, including the commitment to the target for 33% of electricity production by renewable energy by 2020.
To inform the setting of the new target, expert advice was obtained from Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM).
For South Australia, SKM assessed the historical investment to date in low carbon and renewable energy generation and also forecast investment for both sectors to 2030. For the State and regional economies where possible, SKM also assessed a number of economic indicators including wages and salaries, value added and a composite measure estimating the value of benefits to the energy market.
Proposed Economic Targets for Low Emission Investment in South Australia
Renewable Energy Plan for South Australia
The Renewable Energy Plan for South Australia released on 19 October 2011 provides an agenda for the future growth of the State’s renewable energy sector.
The Plan is complemented by a new policy and planning framework for wind farm developments (see News), also released on 19 October.
The plan is built around five key strategies for supporting renewable energy investment and generation in South Australia.
These include providing quality information; having the most efficient and certain regulatory environment; selectively intervening to address market failures; government leadership by example; and positioning South Australia to take advantage of National policy settings, including the Commonwealth’s Clean Energy Future Package.
Some of the key initiatives within the Plan include:
- Draft legislation to provide renewable energy investors with access to the 40 per cent of South Australia’s land mass that is Crown Land subject to pastoral lease;
- Calling for expressions of interest in the design and implementation of a concept model for a community-owned solar project (See news);
- Beginning consultations on setting a specified limit on carbon emissions for new electricity generation, which will effectively prevent investment in new coal-fired electricity generation;
- Providing $345,000 for the demonstration of concentrating solar power technology for heat and electricity at a horticultural greenhouse in Port Augusta.
33% Renewable Energy Production Target
In June 2009, South Australia committed to increasing its renewable energy production target to 33% by 2020. To inform the setting of the new target, expert advice was obtained from McLennan Magasanik Associates (MMA) and the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR).
The reports anticipate that wind and geothermal will be the major sources of renewable energy in 2020 and identify a wealth of cost-competitive potential projects in South Australia. They have differing views on the impacts of constraints, specifically the maximum level of wind power that can be fed into the South Australian electricity grid without affecting grid stability.
A further report by MMA shows the carbon intensity of the State's electricity generation would fall to around 0.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent for each megawatt hour produced with the achievement of the 33% target for renewable energy generation by 2020.
Click on the links below to access the full reports:
MMA Report: Potential for Renewable Energy in South Australia, May 2009
NIEIR Report: The future prospects for renewable energy in South Australia, May 2009
MMA Report: Projected Carbon Intensity for South Australian Renewable Energy Target in 2020
Energy Storage Options in South Australia
In 2011, WorleyParsons and Sinclair Knight Mertz were commissioned to examine the economic potential for small and large scale energy storage technologies that are envisaged to strengthen the viability of connecting additional wind generation to South Australia. This involved the screening of technologies, review of geological data to assess large scale storage locations, modelling of the South Australian transmission network to determine best large scale storage scheme locations from a network perspective and assessment of storage options in view of its interchangeability with transmission investment.
The study identified Eyre, Yorke Peninsula and the Riverland networks as candidate locations for large scale storage which could be used to defer new transmission infrastructure. The storage technology type and locations are:
- Sea water pump storage in the Eyre Peninsula, in particular to the east and west of Port Lincoln to support future wind farm development in the area.
- Underground compressed air storage in the South East.
- Compressed gas storage in the SEA Gas Pipeline between Adelaide and the Otway Basin in Victoria.
Overall, system wide storage capacity of 500 MW with 10 hours of storage would assist by relieving the number of constrained wind generation periods in South Australia and improving revenue for wind generators from the spot market.
Commerciality of Solar Resources in South Australia
In September 2010, ROAM Consulting was commissioned to examine the commerciality of South Australia's solar resource compared with three other States taking into account marginal loss factors (MLFs), or losses associated with transporting electricity over distances.
The study examined generation and revenue forecasts for a number of solar technologies in a number of locations for the financial year 2015-16. The technologies investigated were:
- Concentrating PV;
- Tilted plate solar photo-voltaic (PV); and
- Solar thermal parabolic trough without storage
The sites chosen were:
- Olympic Dam in South Australia
- Mildura in Victoria
- Moree in New South Wales; and
- Emerald in Queensland
The study indicates that with the Olympic Dam mining expansion proceeding, the South Australian site is the most attractive in terms of revenues for a solar plant. This outcome is consistent for all technology types investigated. The significantly improved MLFs, wholesale pool price revenue and renewable energy certificate revenue result in the Olympic Dam site being up to $10 million higher in revenues for a concentrating PV plant, $9 million higher for solar thermal trough and $4 million higher for tilted plate PV, in 2015-16.
ROAM Consulting Report to RenewablesSA - Solar Power Station MLFs
Accommodating Electric Vehicles in South Australia