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The South Australian government will this week call for expressions of interest to build a new state-owned gas-fired power station.

The 250 megawatt generator will be the first electricity infrastructure built and owned by the state government since the previous Liberal government privatised the state’s power assets 18 years ago.

“Once constructed, the state government will be able to dispatch electricity from our own generator in order to help prevent future load-shedding events,” Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said on Sunday.

The power station is part of the government’s $550 million energy plan, designed to reduce reliance on the national market through SA’s electricity interconnector with Victoria.

The plan also includes building Australia’s largest battery to store renewable energy from wind and solar and incentives to increase gas exploration and production.

The state government acted in response to the statewide blackout in September last year as well as other incidents, including the load-shedding of about 90,000 properties in February when the National Energy Market Operator failed to accurately forecast demand during heatwaves conditions.

The government will issue tenders for the new power station on Tuesday and they will close in two weeks.

Mr Koutsantonis said he expected international attention in the offering and once the tenders closed the government would have a better idea when the facility would be up and running.

“These things are off-the-shelf technology. It could be anything from months to 18 months,” he said.

“We want it done as soon as possible, but I’m not going to put a deadline on it.”

The minister said the generator would be able to start-up and dispatch electricity quickly if needed in emergency situations and would also be able to provide grid-stability services year-round.

It is expected to cost about $360 million with detailed costing to be provided in the state budget.

The location is also still to be determined.

 
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