The SA Government has released plans that will help it attract $10 billion of investment in low-carbon energy generation by 2025, and produce half of its energy from renewable sources by that date.

According to the low-carbon investment plan, launched yesterday, $6.6 billion of investment has already been made in renewable energy, with 40 per cent invested in regional areas. The state says that this has been achieved through the government’s “clear policy, efficient regulatory environment, information to inform investment, sponsoring uptake and wider market deployment”.

To further increase investment, the government outlines that it will now focus on several actions, including:

  • implementing the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation (Renewable Energy) Amendment Act 2015 to allow wind farms, pastoral activity and resource exploration to co-exist on Crown land used for pastoral purposes and also expedite solar developments
  • creating an Investment Attraction Agency to attract new businesses and head offices of international firms to the state
  • establishing an Office of the State Coordinator-General to coordinate and streamline approval processes for private sector development above $3 million in investment value
  • undertaking a bio-energy roadmap to lay the groundwork for new bio-energy projects in South Australia
  • supporting Adelaide’s first electric car share initiative, incorporating solar photovoltaic and battery storage, while also progressing with an Expression of Interest for its own vehicle fleet
  • supporting a new financial and legal model for a community cooperative for energy efficiency and renewable energy on local council buildings
  • supporting a mobile energy storage testing facility by the University of Adelaide in partnership with SA Power Networks and several local providers for battery technology and integration to performance test systems integrated with energy infrastructure
  • assessing the opportunity to showcase emerging battery storage on its own buildings in the Adelaide CBD area
  • progressing legislation for building upgrade finance to allow building owners to access loans for energy, water and environmental efficiency for existing commercial buildings
  • See our story: Martin Haese on why Adelaide is going so green

Launching the plan yesterday, Premier Jay Weatherill said he hoped it would be a “major step” towards making Adelaide the “world’s first carbon-neutral city”.

“We want our state to be a truly international and innovative economy, and we want to engage with the world by supporting new industries and jobs as we move towards a low carbon future,” he said.

“By attracting investment, creating opportunity for local industry participation and new jobs, we believe South Australia can maximise the benefits of a low carbon energy transition, and we believe we can establish Adelaide as a showcase for economic development and innovation.”

Climate Change Minister Ian Hunter, who is currently attending the climate change summit in Paris, added: “Early and decisive action means our emissions are down nine per cent on 1990 levels while our economy has grown 60 per cent.

“From South Australia’s perspective, the climate change conference [in Paris] represents an unparalleled opportunity to invite the world to invest in our emerging renewable energy technology and the innovations that will drive the low-carbon economy.

“An agreement reached in Paris will unlock vast amounts of annual investment in the renewable energy sector, on top of the more than quarter of a trillion dollars invested globally in the past year alone.

“This plan is a part of our government’s work to ensure that we attract a substantial proportion of that investment, to create jobs in the low carbon economy.”

Sustainable Incentives Scheme receives 46 applications

www.freeimages.com/Daniel Nilsson

The release of the plan comes amid news that Adelaide City Council has received 46 applications for its Sustainable Incentives Scheme.

The scheme provides reimbursements to building owners and tenants – including businesses, residents, schools, community and sporting organisations in the city centre area – for the installation of water and energy devices.

Expanded in July to include battery storage, the scheme provides:

  • up to $5000 reimbursement for those installing solar panels, energy storage systems, and apartment building energy-efficiency upgrades
  • up to $3000 for communal use rain water tanks in apartment buildings
  • up to $1000 for solar hot water systems and changing quartz halogen downlights to LED equivalents
  • up to $500 for electric vehicle charging controllers and individual rain water tanks
  • up to $120 for energy monitoring systems

According to the council, 46 applications – including six businesses – have successfully applied for reimbursements for works completed after 1 July, with three relating to battery storage.

Although the number of applications seems small, the city council has a small population (of around 22,000).

Lord Mayor Martin Haese said that the community response to the scheme had been “overwhelming” and “clearly demonstrates Adelaide’s willingness to be early adopters of technology”.

He said: “We are very proud of this achievement, but it really is just the tip of the iceberg.

“The program has clearly tapped into the community as a resource, harnessing both their desire and their commitment to act, which we will continue to encourage.”

To date, the council has provided $44,290 in incentives and expects to allocate “much more” over the coming months and years.

“Providing opportunity to lead the world in this space opens up a myriad of opportunities for everyone and just makes good sense,” Mr Haese said.

“In Adelaide between 2007 and 2013 we have overseen population growth of 27 percent and an increase in office area of 16 per cent, while reducing our carbon emissions by 20 per cent and increasing our economic activity by 28 per cent. We have proven that climate action and economic growth can co-exist and provide benefit to the whole community.”