The South Australian State Government has announced that it will carry out a $550 million investment into electricity infrastructure, including construction of a new $360 million gas-fired power plant. The plant will be a fast-start aeroderivative 250 MW gas turbine, to provide back-up power at times of peak demand and prevent future blackouts in the state.
The government said that it is assessing potential sites and that a procurement process will begin shortly.
The plan also includes construction of the country’s largest battery, expected to be in excess of 100 MW, connected to the grid to store wind and solar energy when demand is high. This project will draw investment from the South Australia Renewable Energy Fund.
The government will legislate to empower the state’s energy minister to direct generators to supply extra power when he deems it necessary “in the interests of South Australians.” There will also be incentives to encourage the unlocking of South Australia’s gas resources, and use that in South Australia to replace the importation of brown coal from Victoria. A new royalty return scheme will give 10 per cent of royalties to land owners who allow new gas production on their land. The government said that the move would combat projected a national gas shortfall, and would lower prices by increasing supply and competition.