Another delay for major element of South Australia's energy plan

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Electricity retailers will be given extra time to source energy from gas generators and other baseload sources.

another-delay-for-major-element-of-south-australia-and-039;s-energy-plan photo 1 Photo: The target will require more electricity to be sourced from gas generators and other baseload sources. (ABC News: Dean Faulkner)

The South Australian Government has again delayed its Energy Security Target, a key plank of its $550 million energy plan.

The start of the Energy Security Target – originally planned to take effect in July – has been delayed for a second time, in this case until 2020.

It will operate in a similar way to the Federal Government's Renewable Energy Target (RET), with a major difference.

Instead of incentivising new renewable projects, it will require retailers to source 36 per cent of the state's electricity needs from gas generators and other synchronous power sources.

The Government today wrote to stakeholders advising of a further delay.

"The revised commencement date of 1 January 2020 allows retailers more time to consider the most efficient options for incorporating the Energy Security Target requirements in their business," it said.

"[It will give] investors a greater opportunity to work out how best to supply the market with a wider range of solutions.

"Commissioning of new generation projects in South Australia will provide a more competitive environment and, coupled with more lead time for market participants, the costs of the scheme will be lower, improving the price outcomes for South Australian consumers while delivering improved security."

The scheme was designed to help stabilise the state's energy grid with more sources of firm generation, and boost competition in the wholesale market.

But its introduction was delayed until January 2018 after power users and energy companies — including battery giant Tesla — criticised the Government's proposal.

The revised date also responds to recent changes in the energy market.

Since the consultation on the draft EST regulations, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has required an increased number of large synchronous generating units to remain online, to provide adequate system strength.

Earlier this week, AEMO warned South Australia was at risk of blackouts this summer without the energy plan.

Temporary generators and the Tesla battery are due to be installed by December, and a new solar thermal plant at Port Augusta will eventually follow.

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