SA energy minister vows continued leadership on energy transition

South Australia’s new energy minister has vowed to continue the state’s dramatic energy transition and show other states “how it can be done,” as the dust settles from the state’s March election.

In a keynote speech to the Australian Energy Storage conference and exhibition in Adelaide on Wednesday, Dan van Holst Pellekaan said expectations that the election of a Liberal government would be the end of clean energy in the state were false.

“We heard about the end of renewables and return to energy systems of the past,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

“The transition is underway, and the transition will continue. It is being driven by the fundamental economics of clean energy as the lowest cost new build energy source.

“South Australia will lead and show the world how a sensible transition can be done.”

In the speech, and in a later interview with RenewEconomy, van Holst Pellekaan said the focus would be on an “orderly transition” built around storage.

That included the proposed 40,000 batteries that would be installed as the result of the Liberals $100 million subsidy scheme, which were possibly going to be used as a virtual power plant, although the final details had not been worked out.

The new energy minister also held out hope that the Tesla plan for a 250MW “virtual power plant” combining solar and storage on 50,000 low-income homes could still emerge, as could other schemes involving sonnen and a possible manufacturing base.

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Giles Parkinson