Liberals support solar thermal power

ENERGY: State Shadow Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan says the SA Liberal energy policy will not kill off a solar thermal power plant in Port Augusta..The South Australian Liberal Party’s plan to scrap South Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET)will not scare away solar thermal power investors from a development in Port Augusta, according to state Shadow Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan.
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It follows state Opposition Leader Steven Marshall’s calls on Monday February 13 which promised to, “abolish Labor’s dangerous plan to rapidly increase the volume of unreliable and intermittent renewable energy in South Australia.”

“Until there are viable storage options for intermittent renewable energy, South Australia must reject the Weatherill Labor Government’s dangerous target of 50 per cent,” he said.

Repower Port Augusta Campaigner Dan Spencer said this move will create ‘more uncertaintyfor investors’.

“This fresh policy uncertainty risks turning away investment in solutions like solar thermal in Port Augusta which the South Australian Liberals have advocated for and other renewable storage” Mr Spencer said.

“We want to see the South Australian Liberals announce their plans to support the next generation of clean power with storage like solar thermal in Port Augusta. Disappointingly today’s attack was more politics than solutions.”

In a letter to state Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis on Friday February 10, Mr van Holst Pellekaan said any major and innovative plan to address South Australia’s ‘extremely serious energy problems’ must include a solar thermal power station at Port Augusta.

“Renewable energy with dispatchable storage must be part of the solution,” the lettersaid.

“ …The tender to supply the state government’s own electricity demand (484GWH/yr) is an extremely good fit with a new solar thermal generator (110 Megawatt capacity) as it would be both a new generator and a renewable generator as requested by the government.”

The tender applications closed on January 6, 2017, with the winner expected to be announced by mid-year 2017.

In the letter Mr van Holst Pellekaan asked Mr Koutsantonis to consider extendingthe tender’s time frame from 10 yearsto 20 years to allow a proponent to attract finance.

Mr Koutsantonis said, “the Department advised that a 10 year contract was sufficient to incentivise investment in new electricity generation.”

He said the assessment panel is independent of government and will make recommendations to cabinet before the results of the tender are announced, and criticised Mr van Holst Pellekaan.

“The tender is technology agnostic and aims to bring additional generation into the market that is despatchable around the clock. This will put downward pressure on power prices in South Australia,” he said.

“Mr Pellekaan’s policy to scrap the RETand allow a federal government that hates renewables to dictate South Australian policy would kill any prospect of solar thermal development in Port Augusta.”

South Australia’s RETis 50 per cent by 2025 and renewbale energy currently accounts formore than 40 per cent of the state’senergy mix.

Mr Koutsantonis said SA’sRETis aspirational, “which means there is nomechanism or incentive in place to drive the uptake of renewables.”

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said scrapping that state RETgives‘greater certainty’ to potential investors of renewable energy storage projects and said Mr Koutsantonis is‘100 per-cent wrong’ on this issue.

“The reality is our policy does not include the federal government dictating what the Renewable Energy Target would be,” he said.

“Our policy is that the federal government and states jointly would determine a national target.”

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