South Australians now own their own power plant for the first time since the privatisation of ETSA, after the State Government today exercised an option to purchase nine GE TM2500 aero derivative turbines.

The option to purchase the back-up power plant, which was initially leased and installed at two temporary locations in time for summer, was exercised so that work on relocating the generators to a permanent location operating on gas could progress as soon as possible.

The Premier and Energy Minister signed documents today, delivering greater self-sufficiency for South Australia.

The State Government is currently undertaking consultation on a number of permanent sites that meet the requirements of being adjacent to both the gas and electricity transmission networks.

The state-owned power plant will fall under the purview of the new Energy and Water Services (E&WS) Department.

The Liberal Party has promised to privatise the power plant.

Background

South Australia’s 276 MW power plant was procured as part of the State Government’s energy plan to provide back-up power in emergency situations to help prevent unnecessary load-shedding, such as what occurred in February when 90,000 households lost power because the market operator decided to switch off homes, rather than switch on available generation.

The new GE TM2500 aero derivative turbines have been connected to the grid at two temporary locations – the former General Motors Holden site at Elizabeth and the Adelaide Desalination Plant at Lonsdale, where they will operate on diesel for the next two summers.

They will then be moved to a permanent location as a State-owned power plant operating on gas.

While operating on diesel, the plant is 25 per cent cleaner than the former Northern Power Station, and once operating on gas, will be cleaner and more efficient than the gas-fired Torrens Island Power Station.

Quotes attributable to Premier Jay Weatherill

Every South Australian knows the consequences of the disastrous privatisation of ETSA by Rob Lucas and the Liberals.

They locked in higher prices and handed control of our grid over to private operators whose first priority is profit.

Today, we are putting control back in the hands of South Australians.

This state-of-the-art power plant is now available to turn on at short notice to prevent against unnecessary load-shedding like we saw earlier this year, and once operating on gas, will be one of the cleanest conventional generators in the nation.

This is the difference between Labor and Liberal. The Liberals sign documents to privatise our electricity assets. Labor signs documents to buy electricity assets for all South Australians.

Quotes attributable to Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis

The privately-run national electricity market is failing around the country, but in South Australia, we stand ready to protect households and businesses from unnecessary supply shortfalls.

This power plant will be critical to system security in South Australia, which is why we are exercising our option to purchase so we can get on with the work of securing a permanent location.

Steven Marshall has already said he plans to sell this power plant if the Liberals are elected in March. The Liberals have learned nothing from their privatisation of ETSA. We can’t repeat the mistakes of the past.