Solar panels | QUESTION TIME


The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS (West Torrens) (15:05): My question is for the Minister for Energy. Does the Minister for Energy support the policy announced by AEMO of disconnecting household solar from the grid at times of negative demand?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (15:05): AEMO didn’t announce a policy of doing it. AEMO put out a paper saying that it is one of the things that it is considering. AEMO I am quite sure—I have no right speak for them, but I am quite sure—has no desire to do it. We have no desire to do it. AEMO is doing its job. AEMO is looking into the future, looking at the challenges that exist, and AEMO is throwing out a range of things that it thinks might need to be considered to protect South Australians.

AEMO knows that over the last several years South Australians have been penalised with increasing electricity prices—that is, up until the last two years of course. AEMO knows that South Australians have been penalised with more and more blackouts, including an unprecedented state blackout—that is, up until two years ago of course. But AEMO also knows that, while the previous state government allowed and encouraged greater and greater and greater penetration of renewable energy, which in isolation is a very positive thing, having done that with no care for what it does to security of supply, to frequency of control, to voltage control, to the risk of negative demand, it left South Australia in an incredibly tenuous position.

AEMO also knows and supports the policies we are putting in place at the moment, but AEMO knows what a massive job we have to clean up after the previous government. We are up to that job and we are doing that job, but AEMO is quite within its rights to say, ‘We believe that we need to look at some of the things that might be necessary.’ Interestingly, AEMO also says in its report that it assumes the interconnector is going to go ahead.

AEMO also recognises that we have greater and greater uptake of household batteries and that that is a positive thing. AEMO also knows that our Grid Scale Storage Fund, our demand management trials and all the other things that we are doing are all very positive and they all have AEMO’s complete support. But AEMO is doing its job, looking down the track at the things that might need to be done to clean up the mess that we were left by the previous government so that we can continue to make South Australia stronger than before.