THE South Australian Government will build a $360 million gas plant to help alleviate the spate of power issues that have affected the State in recent years.

The 250 MW gas plant is part of a comprehensive $550 million plan that includes plans to attract local gas production for use in the State and the addition of battery storage facilities.

After being hit with a State-wide blackout last year and subsequent major power outages, South Australia’s Energy Minister, Tom Koutsantonis, saiys it was tim for the Government to take charge of the State’s energy future.

“This is a plan that puts control of our energy system back in South Australian hands,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“The first investment in generation since the privatisation of ETSA will give South Australians greater control over their own energy security.

“For too long, South Australian households and businesses have been at the mercy of private companies seeking to maximise their profits and a national operator that manages our grid from Melbourne and Sydney.

“So far this year, we have seen frequent price spikes and supply shortfalls across the nation, but the Federal Government has refused to act.

“We can’t rely on this broken national market any longer. Our plan will deliver increased local generation and powers to help prevent outages and more competition to put downward pressure on power prices for families and businesses,”

He said the $550 million plan will increase security, boost competition and put downward pressure on prices.
The plan includes:
* Building Australia’s largest battery to store energy from the wind and sun, part of a new Renewable Technology Fund that supports clean, dispatchable and affordable power
* Building a government-owned 250MW gas-fired power plant to provide emergency back-up power and system stability services for South Australians, in the meantime procuring temporary back-up generation if necessary
* Introducing new Ministerial powers to direct the market to operate in the interests of South Australians
* Incentivising increased gas production to ensure more of our State’s gas is sourced and used in South Australia
* Introducing an Energy Security Target to ensure our power system uses more clean, secure energy generated in South Australia
* Using the Government’s purchasing power through its own electricity contract to attract a new power generator, increasing competition in the market

The new gas-fired power plant is budgeted to cost $360 million, $150 million will be committed to the SA Renewable Technology Fund and new PACE grants are worth $24 million.

The Government says the plan is expected to create at least 630 new jobs.