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AES 2018 Highlight: bringing more reliable energy to South Australia

Posted on September 20th, 2018 in News

At the 2018 Australian Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition, Liberal MP Hon Dan van Holst Pellekaan, South Australia Minister for Energy and Mining, gave a talk outlining his party’s ‘trilemma’ approach to solving energy problems in South Australia.

One of the key factors to solving these problems is to improve the reliability of service. South Australia has the highest per capita level of household disconnection from electricity in the nation. This not only impinges on personal time but also affects businesses and the job force.

He said, “Our state’s high price and generation volatility, and very unfortunately a state-wide blackout, have meant that we now have the world’s attention, but not necessarily for all the right reasons. But with your sector, we will now change that, and we’ll make it for the right reasons.”

Minister Van Holst Pellekaan’s answer to energy reliability is focussed on two areas: storage and interconnection.

Storage

One of the most talked about drawbacks of renewables is a lack of an efficient way to store the energy.

Reliable storage will have myriad benefits for consumers: it will make electricity cheaper both in the short- and long-term, it lessens the demand for perfect weather conditions and it copes with peak demand seamlessly.

Minister Van Holst Pellekaan said, “From batteries, thermal storage, hydrogen storage, pumped water storage and many more emerging technologies, storage will allow us to couple other sectors to electricity or hydrogen, such as transport, which is one of the key issues which we must address to provide lower carbon emissions across our state and across the world.”

He adds that he’ll be implementing a world-first in terms of the mass adoption of home batteries by funding a programme to directly help more than five per cent of the state’s population, and indirectly help many more.

He said, “We promise 40,000 home batteries supported by $100million of funding, an average subsidy of $2,500 per household, which will be means tested to ensure that the most opportunities go to the people who need and deserve the most.”

Interconnection

Currently, South Australia is only interconnected with Victoria. While there are many benefits to this agreement, there are negatives too: the two states often share weather patterns, renewable energy production and usage patterns.

To expand on existing arrangements, Minister van Holst Pellekaan wants to extend interconnection to New South Wales. This increases the sunlight hours available to South Australia and means SA’s energy production can be useful in peak NSW usage times.

He said, “New South Wales is particularly where we see interconnection being important for South Australia. New South Wales very often has different weather patterns to South Australia, so that means that their generation opportunities are different, it also means that their demand requirements are different.”

“Part of our commitment to interconnection with New South Wales is the development of a renewable energy zone between north-eastern South Australia and western New South Wales.”

By tackling these two problems and bringing forward viable solutions, Minster van Holst Pellekaan is hoping to make a huge change to the energy issue in South Australia that will bring significant benefits to those in the state.