Stuart Electorate renewable energy jobs | QUESTION TIME

22 Sep 2021

Mr TRELOAR (Flinders) (14:32): My question is for the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister update the house on how the Marshall Liberal government's commitment to 100 per cent net renewable energy is creating jobs in his own electorate of Stuart?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:33): Thank you very much to the member for Flinders. I really appreciate the question. While of course we are creating jobs across the entire state through our work in energy, certainly in the seat of Stuart we have a fantastic example.

As this house knows, the Upper Spencer Gulf is the engine room of the state's renewable energy industry. This week, the Marshall Liberal government's commitment to 100 per cent net renewables became another step closer with 50 wind turbines at Port Augusta Renewal Energy Park (PAREP) installed and ready for commissioning. Completion of the turbines at the $500 million hybrid wind and solar project will increase South Australia's wind generation capacity by 210 megawatts, bringing the total statewide capacity to 2,351 megawatts.

With the additional 210 megawatts of power generation from PAREP's solar farm, South Australia's total utility scale solar farm will grow by around 30 per cent. DP Energy and Iberdrola's investment at Port Augusta are creating 200 full-time jobs during construction and a further 20 ongoing jobs after completion.

The Marshall government is making our grid secure, low cost and clean to underpin our strong economic and jobs growth as we deal with the impact of COVID-19. The 50 wind turbines will take advantage of the Port Augusta area's high wind resources, and this investment can mean that renewables make up more than two-thirds of our power generation.

The project will pair well with the South Australia-New South Wales interconnector, which will soon start construction, allowing South Australia to host more renewable projects and export excess wind and solar interstate, creating another 200 jobs during construction. The interconnector, a project opposed by the Labor opposition, is going to drive increased investment in renewable energy projects, like that of Iberdrola's. The Marshall Liberal government is making power cheaper, clean and more secure and creating valuable jobs in the process.

Let me highlight that it is not actually just about wind on its own, not actually just about solar on its own and not just about batteries on their own. It's actually about the smart combination of all of those assets, along with voluntary demand management, which provides financial benefits to those who choose to participate, along with world-leading smart technology—software and hardware—that allows us to mix and to integrate variable supply and variable demand so that we can get the most of all those things for everybody.

There are times in South Australia when people actually get paid to consume electricity, they get paid to store electricity and they get paid to take electricity out of the grid. There are other times when you actually pay to get that electricity. We are using all this technology, all these resources, in a very deliberate and coordinated way to make sure consumers in South Australia get the best.

Unlike the former Labor government, which just had renewable energy targets for the sake of targets for politics, forgot about consumers, drove prices up through the roof and gave us a statewide blackout and many other blackouts, we are working on behalf of consumers. We are working productively and responsibly with the supply side, with transmission, with distribution and with smart tech, but we are doing all of that in partnership with industry for consumers.

Since coming to government, we have seen a $303 decrease per year for the average household bill for electricity in South Australia and there are more savings for our South Australian households on the way.