EP would benefit from clean energy future

State Member for Giles, Eddie Hughes

State Member for Giles, Eddie Hughes

I will make a prediction and I don’t believe it is a brave one – South Australia will become a state with cheap, clean and reliable electricity and it will do so largely on the back of renewables.

In sun belt countries and states solar with storage will out compete any other source of energy. The fall in the costs of renewables, especially solar, has outstripped all predictions and costs continue to fall.  As a more mature technology the cost of wind continues to fall but not as rapidly as solar.

The Eyre Peninsula and the north of South Australia are home to a world class wind and solar resource. Wind and solar, to a degree, complement each other.

At the end of the last decade the state government commissioned the Green Grid Study which focussed on tapping the massive wind resource on the Eyre Peninsula.

More than 10,000 MW of wind energy potential with commercial prospects was identified with an initial focus on developing 2000 MW along with investment in enhanced interstate electricity connectors.

The study should be revisited in the light of the developments in solar, potential pumped hydro in our region and the cost falls in utility scale and small scale battery storage.

The recently released State Government Hydrogen Road Map flags the potential to produce hydrogen and ammonia using renewables for the domestic market and export. A coordinated state building approach is needed.

The benefits to Eyre Peninsula, the north of our state and the national electricity market could be enormous. Job creation, improved grid reliability and ultimately cheaper wholesale electricity will be the result.

To see the potential of renewables look no further than the recent comments by new owner of Arrium, Sanjeev Gupta. One of his first moves was to acquire majority ownership through SIMEC of the Australian renewable energy company, ZEN. Far from demonising renewables Sanjeev Gupta has made it clear renewables will form an important part of our industrial future.

The Eyre Peninsula and the north of our state is in an ideal position to benefit from a clean energy future.

Instead of handing around lumps of coal in parliament we should be grabbing with both hands a far cleaner and cheaper energy future.

Eddie Hughes

Member for Giles