Media Release

No More Bad Investments - Greens urge renewable future, not new fossil fuel power stations

by Greens' MLC Mark Parnell

January 31st, 2018 11:00 am

Greens SA Parliamentary Leader (and environmental lawyer) Mark Parnell MLC, will today be appearing before the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) to argue against the construction of a new fossil fuel power station at Reeves Plains in the State’s Mid-North.

The invitation-only closed hearing at the Mallala RSL Hall this morning is considering what advice the Planning Commission should give to Planning Minister, John Rau in an application by Alinta Energy for a new 300MW gas-fired power plant.  The final decision is the Minister’s with no appeals allowed.  The Alinta application is part of over 1 gigawatt of pending and proposed fossil fuel projects in the pipeline.

“The Greens message to the Planning Commission and the Minister is really clear – this is a bad project that should be dismissed in favour of new renewable energy and storage.  As the impacts of climate change take hold around the world, investing in new fossil fuel projects is irrational and irresponsible when far safer and more climate-friendly alternatives exist”, said Mark Parnell.

“The Greens know that the future is in renewables.  SA is leading the country in the transition to renewable energy but policy failure at the Federal level, soaring gas prices and the legacy of privatisation have forced up electricity bills for households and businesses.

“In contrast to the Greens, Labor also support renewables but still want to expand the dirty gas industry.  Labor is supporting the current Alinta gas proposal. This is the wrong direction for SA.

“Both the old parties are going down the wrong path. The Greens believe we need to:

  • Abandon new private or state-owned gas-fired power stations;
  • Reject new State Government “Energy Security” Regulations that unfairly and unnecessarily discriminate against renewable energy;
  • End direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuel generators, where alternative technologies can achieve the same results in keeping the electricity network stable and  secure; and
  • Redirect taxpayers’ money away from new gas exploration projects and invest in establishment of renewable energy and storage instead.

“The Liberals are wedded to the fossil fuel industry and want to keep us in the past.

“Xenophon’s attacks on wind energy cast doubt on his direction.

“The Greens will also:

  • Promote additional renewable generation and storage in SA to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel power from other States;
  • Support new storage projects including batteries, solar thermal and pumped hydro at suitable locations throughout South Australia;
  • Promote grid-connected battery storage to provide both energy services and also rapid frequency control to help stabilise the grid;
  • Promote domestic and business battery storage to help manage and reduce peaks in demand from the grid;
  • Accelerate construction of “pumped hydro” plants as a means of storing energy which can be dispatched quickly at times when other generators can’t meet the demand;
  • Ensure that NEM rules correctly value cheaper renewable energy sources such as wind and solar and remove hidden subsidies to incumbent fossil fuel generators;
  • Upgrade the out-dated transmission network on Eyre Peninsula which is vulnerable to outages and proving to be a barrier to new generation, especially new wind farms;
  • Remove barriers to entry for domestic and small businesses to feed renewable energy into the grid or participate in peer-to-peer trading of electricity; and
  • Build a new state-owned interconnector between SA and NSW to export excess South Australian renewable energy to the Eastern States.

“The Greens plan is clear and is the right direction for SA.  We want 100% renewable energy by 2030.  It is achievable, affordable and responsible,” concluded Mark Parnell.

Authorised by M. Parnell, Parliament House Adelaide.