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South Australia's Marshall Government

I have written pages about recent anti-renewable power Australian federal governments including the Abbott and Turnbull governments. This page was started four days after the election that brought the Marshall government into power; will this government prove to be as opposed to the renewable energy that Australians love as those federal governments? Time will tell.

Federal Liberal-National Coalition governments have been strongly pro-coal and anti-renewables. South Australia has no coal industry and the South Australian people have no love for coal-fired power stations; the people of Port Augusta are still suffering dust problems a year and a half (at the time of writing) after the last coal-fired power station was closed down.

Science is telling us that the burning of fossil fuels:

  1. is one of the main causes of climate change;
  2. is one of the main causes of ocean acidification;
  3. produces air pollution that kills millions of people each year.
The future is obviously with renewable energy. Will the Marshall Government do the responsible thing or follow the irresponsible lead of the federal Liberals?

This page was started 2018/03/21, modified 2018/05/05
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David K. Clarke) – ©
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First 50 days in office

I write this on 2018/05/05. Tomorrow will be 50 days from the election of 2018/03/17 that brought the Marshall Government to power in South Australia.

The Marshall Government seems to have done or decided very little in this period. I looked up ourenergyplan.sa.gov.au to see what they had decided, I found Jay Whetherill's photo on the pdf file. It seems that the Marshall Government has changed nothing on that site.

Proposed interconnected with NSW

Before the March 2018 election that made him Premier Steven Marshall had proposed building a new electricity interconnector between SA and NSW with the stated aim of giving SA access to reliable coal-fired base-load power.

There are several factors in this that Mr Marshall may not have recognised:

  • SA does not need base load power, all states from time to time could use more peaking power;
  • Peaking power could come via an interstate interconnector or it could be generated locally by pumped hydro or batteries;
  • An additional interconnector will encourage renewable energy development in SA. At present the existing interconnectors are sometimes running at full capacity exporting renewable energy to the eastern (mainly coal-powered) states. At these times generation from wind farms may need to be curtailed. Increased interconnetor capacity will make SA a more attractive place to build renewable energy installations by reducing the need for curtailment.
  • The interconnector could take up to nine years to plan and build, and could cost far more than Premier Marshall's estimated $200 million. (The Guardian)
Premier Marshall might be surprised to find that his interconncetor will do far more to help renewables than to prop up the dying coal industry that the Australian Liberals support.

The graph on the right was recorded on the day after the election that brought the Marshall government to power. It shows that SA was, at the time, exporting a lot of power (the coloured bar showing SA's generation was much longer than the paler bar that showed SA's consumption – the difference was the amount of power being exported). It also shows that about 80% of SA's power at the time was wind (green) and solar (yellow).

Some of Premier Marshall's myths busted

Giles Parkinson reported on RenewEconomy, 2018/03/20, that – contrary to claims made by Premier Marshall – SA may not have the most expensive power in Australia, wholesale power prices were slightly higher in Victoria in the second half of 2017, and in the last quarter of 2017 SA exported more renewable energy to Victoria than it imported coal-fired power.

This is a taste of things to come as more wind farms and solar power stations come on-line. No doubt Premier Marshall will claim credit for decreasing power prices and increasing power exports to the eastern states in the future, while the process was in place before he came to power.

Related pages

SA's great success with the development of renewable energy. Lazard's Levelized Cost of Energy 2017

Wikipedia: Cost of electricity by source; wind power

The Conversation

Solar PV and wind are on track to replace all coal, oil and gas within two decades; 2018/04/06 (before the Marshall Government had any impact in SA.)

FactCheck Q&A: are South Australia’s high electricity prices ‘the consequence’ of renewable energy policy? The verdict was 'no'.

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