South Australia tightens grip on energy security

Janie Parker
March 17, 2017

"We've seen the State Government back the wrong horse today, backing gas and fossil fuels over the abundance of renewable capacity here in our state", said Senator Hanson-Young.

In what will be hard to top as the most wild political press conference of the year, federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg and South Australian premier Jay Weatherill threw the gloves on for a 12-round heavyweight fight about power supply on national TV.

"So there won't be a repeat of a situation where a gas-peaking power plant is called on by the regulator to produce electricity during a heatwave and there's no gas available".

"Emergency powers to intervene in market operation decisions are at first glance understandable given recent events, but we do not want a result where market governance is confused and the national character of our market is lost", he said.

Second, the South Australian government will spent $24 million more on gas exploration, and distribute 10 per cent of the royalties to owners of land that overlies a new production field.

"That's ghastly and apocalyptic as far as the cost structures of energy intensive manufacturers are concerned", said Tennant Reed, an Ai policy adviser.

"The timeframe for implementation is already extremely tight and we have seen the impact of this in the drafting of legislation".

Australia is now exporting twice as much gas to Asia as it consumes locally and struggling to meet domestic demands as it honors long-term supply contracts to Asian buyers. These powers include directing generators to operate and directing the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to control the flow on the interconnector with Victoria. "It is utterly untenable - unacceptable - for us to be in a position where domestic gas consumers. can not have access to affordable gas", Turnbull said.

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Shell Australia, which runs the Queensland Curtis LNG plant and is sitting on undeveloped coal seam gas in the state, has defended its record, saying it has sold significant volumes into southeastern Australia and would continue to do so.

Roberts said the industry had also made undertakings about increasing market transparency.

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Frydenberg, who looked straight ahead and rolled his tongue around his mouth as Weatherill let fly, the premier said that it was "a little galling standing next to a man that's been standing up with his prime minister bagging South Australia at every step of the way over the last six months".

"It is less clear how much these initiatives will help with SA's other energy crisis, affordability", said AIG chief excecutive Innes Willox".

"A broad range of technologies and solutions from local and global businesses are now competing to meet this demand".

"Consumers have had to contend with a series of costly and disruptive power outages this summer and the South Australian energy plan promises to deliver greater security and better outcomes on prices for consumers", spokeswoman Rosemary Sinclair said.

French company Engie, which owns the existing gas-fired power station at Pelican Point, declined to comment.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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