South Australia Reveals 100% Renewable Energy Economy Plan

South Australia’s government has lifted the lid on plans for the state to shift to renewable power before 2030, and go “well beyond that” in the following decade, according to reports.

The plan was unveiled earlier this week at the International Hydrogen Conference in Adelaide, where South Australia said it is in an extremely fortunate position, considering its vast solar and wind resources, to pivot the state’s economy to a 100 per cent hydrogen economy, adding that there are few places in the world more suited to produce, export and consume green hydrogen power.

At the conference, South Australia confirmed that well over 50% of the state’s energy requirements were being met by electricity sourced from solar and wind power.

“It’s likely that nowhere else in the world is as well-positioned as South Australia to produce, consume and export 100% green hydrogen.”

Last week, the Australian-German Energy Transition Hub spoke of a “200 per cent renewables” target, aiming to not just power dwellings, transport, vital services and enterprise in the state, but to create a lucrative export economy. Energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said “this initiative fits in perfectly with our plan to help deliver more reliable, more affordable and cleaner energy for our state.”

“It’s likely that nowhere else in the world is as well positioned as South Australia to produce, consume and export 100% green hydrogen,” he continued.

“Some of our longest-standing and closest trading partners are signaling that they will need hydrogen to make their energy transitions over coming decades, and we want to make the most of that growth opportunity by becoming a hub for the export of renewable energy,” he concluded.

The state’s premier, Steven Marshall said “now is the time to step up the development of a hydrogen economy… while South Australia is not alone in setting its sights on developing a hydrogen economy, the State has a first-mover advantage.”

South Australia currently has a number of smaller hydrogen projects in development, like the 30-megawatt electrolyser in Port Lincoln, as well as a smaller project in Tonsley Park, Adelaide, as well as a ‘test-bed’ facility at the University of South Australia.

One of the largest projects currently slated for development is the Crystal Brook ‘superhub’, which is said to encompass 125-megawatts of wind generated power, 150-megawatts of solar, 400MWh of battery storage and a 50-megawatt hydrogen system.

“We believe we can deliver green hydrogen to our trading partners to meet their ambitious plans. We are already working with the Commonwealth and all State and Territory Governments to develop a National Hydrogen Strategy for 2020-2030. This Hydrogen Action Plan will help South Australia be a supplier of choice for green hydrogen in Australia.”

Australia’s chief scientist, Alan Finkle has assembled at team that is currently working on Australia’s hydrogen policy, which will be formally presented to the Coalition of Australian Governments (COAG) when they meet for the first time this year, in November.

RenewEconomy predicts this policy document will “likely outline the huge potential of hydrogen in the domestic and export markets, and highlight the possibility of having massive arrays of wind and solar - in the tens of gigawatts - to underpin this transition with cheap renewables. Some private investors, such as those involved in the Asia renewable Energy Hub, are already moving down that path.”

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