Eyre Peninsula power potential needs consideration

The Energy Security Working Party has called ElectraNet’s solution of a new interconnector a good step to ensure lower energy prices in South Australia, but believes it is not enough.

ElectraNet released its draft report ‘SA Energy Transformation RIT-T’ report on June 29 which investigated options to support South Australia’s energy transformation.

The report identified the construction of a new, high capacity interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales as an option that could bring major economic benefits.

The plan would involve construction of a new 330-kilovolt line between the state’s mid north and Wagga Wagga, via Buronga.

ElectraNet says independent modelling from ACIL Allen estimates annual residential customer bills would reduce by about $30 in South Australia.

ElectraNet chief executive officer Steve Masters said the interconnector with New South Wales would have the most benefits to customers out of all of the options considered.

“Net market benefits are estimated to be around $1 billion over 21 years,” he said.

Retired electrical engineer and working party member Steve Sawyer said it was supportive of an interconnector and that the option was similar to one suggested in the party’s plan.

He said this was jumping up to a 800-mega-watt connection, however it ideally needed to be five times bigger.

“It’s a step in the right direction but it needs to be five times bigger than what the plan is proposing to reap the benefits that the Eyre Peninsula can provide,” he said.

Mr Sawyer said the renewable energy potential of Eyre Peninsula was eight to 32 gigawatts.

He said one of the reasons ElectraNet could not go bigger was due to constraints in the National Energy Market rules.

State energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan expressed support for ElectraNet’s report findings and said it validated one of the key components to the Marshall Government’s energy solution developed before the election.

He said an interconnector would strengthen the state’s network and deliver cheaper prices.

“Enhancing South Australia’s interconnection to the NEM is one of a range of policy initiatives the Marshall Liberals identified as necessary to bring down our state’s outrageous electricity prices,” he said.