Sian Crampsie

The government of South Australia is examining expressions of interest received from potential bidders for projects to build new energy infrastructure under the state’s new energy plan.

Premier Jay Weatherill says that the state government has received 31 expressions of interest to build a 250 MW natural gas-fired power plant, and is also examining 90 submissions for a project to build a 100 MW battery energy storage facility. 

It is just over one month since South Australia announced a radical plan for its energy sector, and there has been interest from all over the world in the energy projects planned for the new few years, Weatherill said.

Companies from a dozen countries, including China, Malaysia, Singapore, France, Finland, Spain and the UK, have expressed an interest in the A$360 million gas-fired power plant project, which will be owned by the government and used to maintain energy security. 

Weatherill added that new laws giving ministers powers to direct the market would come into effect on April 26, 2017, and that an initial round of grants to incentivise gas production in South Australia has awarded A$24 million to five projects.

“We didn’t just release a plan, we’ve been implementing it,” said Weatherill. “In just one month, we’ve completed two separate Expression of Interest processes, and we’ve been encouraged by the strong response from across the country and around the world.

“We’ve also legislated new powers to take back control of the energy market. Our plan is all about self-sufficiency. It’s about South Australia standing on its own two feet.

“We’ve made strong progress, but there is still more to do as we continue to take charge of our energy future.”

The energy plan was implemented earlier in 2017 following a major state-wide blackout in South Australia in September 2016.

The blackout was the result of a fault in the grid caused by a severe storm but the event raised question marks over Australia’s energy policy and the pursuit of ambitious renewable energy targets in South Australia.

The six-point plan is designed to enhance energy security and reduce energy prices.