How South Australia became the ‘renewable energy state’
For a state that used to be reliant on other states for their energy supply, they sure have the rest of the country ‘green’ with envy now. South Australia has undertaken an enviable energy transition that sees the festival state leading the way in renewable energy. But what exactly is renewable energy? Renewable energy is electricity that is powered by natural sources such as wind, water and the sun. It is a point in which many countries wish to reach, supplying electricity through natural sources. South Australia has already successfully managed to begin their transition to a fully renewable energy state. They have moved on from depending on fossil fuels to now approximately 60% of their electricity coming from renewable resources such as wind and solar farms.
The turnaround and commitment has been remarkable. It has us wondering, how did they do it? And how do consumers benefit from these changes and embrace a greener way to source their home energy needs?
What is South Australia known for?
South Australia is now a net exporter of electricity, which wasn’t always the way. Previously the state was an importer of electricity. They used to be very reliant on other states for their supply, especially leaning on Victoria for a lot of their energy needs. Two decades later and it’s quite a different story. So why did that happen and how did they do it?
As SA is located at the end of a long grid, that has little connection to other markets, their success is astonishingly remarkable. They have become a true leader to other states in Australia by demonstrating what is possible in making the whole of Australia a renewable country.
Also, known for being a dry state. This makes their environment vulnerable to climate change, which gives them sufficient solar and wind resources. These two elements gave South Australia the push they needed in becoming the top renewable state in Australia.
Beginning of South Australia’s transition
In 2002 the South Australian government set a target for 26% renewables by the year 2020. As this transition progressed with wind farms, Port Augusta wasn’t as needed and eventually closed.
However, four months after Port Augusta’s closure in 2016, a massive storm hit South Australia which caused the majority of the state to completely blackout and shortly after that, another blackout occurred due to issues with the transmission lines. At the time, a lot of local South Aussies blamed the blackouts on renewable sources such as wind and solar farms. This caused a lot of doubt across the state as to whether or not they would be able to regain trust to get their electricity from these natural sources.
Bumps in the Road
This 2016 blackout did not stop SA from continuing with its transition. In fact, the government fully embraced making SA a 100% renewable state by 2030.
The Liberal government mentioned that by 2050, SA could be so far advanced in its transition that renewables could generate 500% of the energy needs of the state, and to export any surplus made on a national and international scale. The Liberal government also continued with Labour’s renewable energy transmission, as it brought cheaper green power into SA and brought a further opportunity to rebuild the state’s manufacturing industry and bring in new business.
Future for South Australia
South Australia is recognised worldwide for the biggest lithium-ion battery, along with other battery installations, which helps in the growth of wind and solar farms. In 2017 their first battery was installed at Hornsdale and 2018 their second battery was installed alongside the installation of a large-scale wind farm. A goal SA wishes to continue with is expanding on being an exporter of electricity. They have a lot of projects in the pipeline to reach their target of being 100% renewable by 2030.
South Australia was successfully ranked as 2nd in providing electricity from renewable energy sources, after Denmark. To get this worldwide recognition shows their success and their dedication for a green movement in their resources.
The reason it is so important that the success SA has seen in renewables has a benefit to local families is that the use of renewable energy brings a shift in prices and allows people in residential areas to access cheaper power. It is known that South Australian’s are environmentally conscious, and to be able to continue to provide them with clean energy at a reasonable price, shows that the South Australian government are doing it right, even more so, that smaller businesses are starting to switch to solar to lower the cost of their energy bills and also be part of a greener environment. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
We support South Australia in these endeavours and hope they continue to ensure a ‘greener future.’ They can do this by recognising the importance of leveraging smart technology, better support on the grid, and giving customers the ability to manage their power better and reduce their energy bills.