South Australia a transition role model: report

A REPORT by the pro-renewables Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis has praised the energy transition efforts of South Australia, noting it has gone from zero to 60% renewables electricity generation in 14 years.
South Australia a transition role model: report South Australia a transition role model: report South Australia a transition role model: report South Australia a transition role model: report South Australia a transition role model: report

IEEFA says crucial lessons to learn

Mark Tilly

Journalist

Mark Tilly

The report released Thursday said the state offers vital lessons for other jurisdictions from transitioning to renewables. 

"Today the grid is dominated by wind and solar backed up by battery storage and interstate grid connectivity, with peaking gas being used as a temporary generation technology until South Australia moves to net 100% renewables," report author Johanna Bowyer said. 

The state has the largest proportion of demand provided by rooftop solar of all states in the National Electricity Market, with 13% of grid demand provided by rooftop solar in 2020 - with 40% of households in the state featuring solar pv. 

The report said the fast initial uptake of renewables in South Australia was driven by market features including strong wind and solar resources, historically high residential electricity prices and historically high wholesale electricity prices, although wholesale prices have now dropped by 65% from 2017-2021. 

It said government policies have helped accelerate the transition, including the Renewable Energy Target and the South Australian rooftop solar feed-in tariff and the Home Battery Scheme. 

IEEFA expects the state to achieve its 100% net renewable energy target by 2025 - five years ahead of schedule.

The report noted the A$2 billion Project EnergyConnect interconnector between South Australia, NSW and Victoria would help unlock some 800MW of extra capacity in the state. 

Looking forward, the report notes the SA government is looking to reach 500% renewables by 2050 in order to support a green hydrogen export industry, noting the state could be an example to others. 

The report said this would require additional investment in renewable energy generation projects, green hydrogen production facilities as well as local low emissions product manufacturing capabilities to drive demand. 

"The transition to a zero-emissions, zero-inertia electricity grid with a comprehensive demand response regime and optimisation of both large scale and distributed energy resources has yet to be achieved anywhere in the world," Bowyer said. 

"South Australia has the potential to achieve this outcome within a decade with thoughtful planning and policy."