South Australia will buy nine new generators to overcome any shortfalls in electricity during summer and cut the risk of blackouts.

The government says the state-of-the-art generators will be installed at two temporary locations for the next two summers before being moved to one permanent site.

They have the capacity to provide up to 276 megawatts but will only dispatch energy to the grid if there are shortfalls in electricity supply that could result in load shedding.

They replace the government’s original proposal to build a new gas-fired power station and to put temporary diesel generators in key locations across SA.
Premier Jay Weatherill says the generators will be funded within the existing $550 million energy plan, with the bill to be lower than the previous options.

The plan also includes construction of the world’s biggest battery in SA’s mid-north by tech billionaire Elon Musk and was developed following the statewide blackout in September 2016 and major load shedding in February.

“Rather than purchasing temporary generators before building a new gas plant, this solution will deliver long-term, back-up generation for South Australia before this summer,” the premier said on Tuesday.

“Importantly, this solution will deliver more generation capacity than originally planned while emitting less carbon pollution.”

The state government said if the turbines had been available last summer they would only have been needed on three occasions.

But Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said there was no indication on exactly how often the generators would be called on.

He also criticised the government for continually changing its energy plan and opting for measures that would not bring down energy prices.

“People are saying that South Australia has the highest costs in the entire world. This is a disaster for families, for individuals and for business,” he said.

The nine new aero-derivative turbines, which work like jet engines to produce electricity, will be initially fuelled by diesel before being connected to a gas supply.

The temporary locations to be used will be alongside Adelaide’s desalination plant in Adelaide’s south and within the soon-to-be-vacated Holden car assembly plant in the northern suburbs.
Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the generators were state-of-the-art.

“These are the type of generators that every modern city in the world is putting in. They are the latest in technology,” he said.

“They will give South Australia the security that we deserve.”


By Tim Dornin
  • Mostly energy problems are exacerbated if not solely created by centralised generation and distribution systems.

    A properly designed distributed generation system broken into convenient and manageable sections with capacity to support part or all of a neighbouring section would have reduced the outage effects, reduced the transmission losses which are very considerable (85% possibly) and added flexibility or adaptability and easy scalability to energy supply.

    Huge centralised generation in massive power plants make their own logistical problems and serve only one real purpose – control. Mot operation control which might seem obvious, but political and financial control which fits nicely into centralised government and today the taking of profit by monopoly or effective monopoly private concerns.

    Without huge transmission towers to blow over SA would not have suffered its major black out. With a truly scalable generating system in responsible hands, responsible to the public as stakeholder and not private shareholders, the demand triggered issues would not have occurred either while a fully serviceable huge Gas power station stood mothballed on economic grounds.

    Responsible governments meeting public needs could have avoided the whole issue in SA though history did not provide such. Unfortunately the Australian political scene whether at local, state or federal level have been allowed to crumble into a stupid corrupt political game which favours those who bribe with donations to campaigns or any other suitable means.

    Ultimately it is the public who pays the price through their neglect of the political system they must oversee VERY carefully and relentlessly.

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