Speed of Australia's energy transition hostage to Marshall law

Speed of Australia’s energy transition hostage to Marshall law

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Election of Steve Marshall – and expectation he will be a vassal of Coalition in Canberra – likely to do more damage to country’s renewable energy transition than that of his state. Jay Weatherill will be missed, but he leaves SA with huge momentum.

Source: AAP
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Source: AAP

The consequences of South Australia’s election result on Saturday will be felt far beyond the state’s borders.

It was barely minutes after the SA Liberals – led by Steven Marshall – were declared winners that the federal Coalition began crowing that this was good news for Malcolm Turnbull’s signature policy, the National Energy Guarantee.

Senator Simon Birmingham said so almost immediately on ABC News 24, and the level of expectation that Marshall should serve as a vassal of the federal Coalition’s policy objectives was repeated by Turnbull, energy minister Josh Frydenberg and finance minister Matthias Cormann.

It seems unlikely that the NEG, or even Marshall, could do much to slow down the pace of the transition in South Australia, for reasons I will explain below.

But it’s pretty clear to all that the NEG – which won’t get through unless Marshall ignores South Australia’s own economic interest and toes the Canberra line – will be able to bring the transition in the rest of the country to a crashing halt.

The latest analysis from Reputex suggests that the NEG would be worse than doing nothing when it comes to emissions, were it not for the state-based targets in Victoria and Queensland that Turnbull and Frydenberg are also trying to stop.

This is not the first analysis to point to this conclusion, there is this too from Gordon Weiss from Energetics; but the Reputex assessment is perhaps the most strident.

It follows more than 100 submissions to the Energy Security Board’s “consultation paper” that confirmed that most retailers, network owners, renewable energy companies, software providers and storage developers have the same dim view of the policy proposal.

They say that the NEG will do nothing on both emissions and reliability, will likely bring investment in renewables and storage to a halt, and threatens to further reduce competition and push up prices, for the benefit of no one but the big fossil fuel generators.

(And may I express my exasperation that none of these points were put to Cormann in his interview about the NEG on Radio National breakfast on Monday morning).

The loss of Labor’s Jay Weatherill as premier deprives Australia of the one state or federal leader who actually showed leadership and vision on climate and clean energy.

Weatherill’s role has been critical, because what South Australia has achieved – and is going to achieve as yet more big wind and solar plants are built, and yet more big batteries join the Tesla big battery – has given confidence to other states, territories and communities to follow.

It has also given others – such as the Australian Energy Market Operator – the incentive and drive to clean up their act, and embrace the renewable energy transition rather than fight against it.

South Australia has proved that it works. And new innovation such as the Tesla big battery has attracted interest from around the world.

Weatherill had pitched the election as a referendum on renewables. This was a ploy to make renewables, which enjoy enormous popularity in the state, front and centre of voters, rather than the “it’s time for a change mantra”, and issues such as tax, jobs and aged care scandals.

In the end, it is hard to argue that this was a vote against renewables because Labor actually improved its vote by 1.5 per cent on a two-party preferred basis, extraordinary for a political party seeking a fifth consecutive term.

The Liberals primary vote actually fell more than 7 per cent, but, because of a significant redistribution of seats, Labor needed a 3 per cent gain – and to win three extra seats – to win. It was beyond them.

As Weatherill himself noted in his eloquent concession speech on Saturday night, the handicapper had finally caught up with him.

Weatherill, however, leaves the state with a 50 per cent share in wind and solar, and enough projects under construction, or in the process of obtaining finance, to take it to 75 per cent renewables and half way to his 25 per cent storage target much earlier than even he planned.

This is the bitter irony. Frydenberg issued a press release hoping that Marshall would see sense and drop the targets. But it’s likely the target will be reached by 2021, given what’s under construction, or about to be. These include:

These are going ahead with or without Marshall. It’s hard to imagine how he would dare to tell Sanjeev Gupta, the new owner of the Whyalla steelworks, to do otherwise given the commitment to green energy was fundamental to his plans to revive a derelict business and save thousands of jobs.

But wait, there’s more. Also coming, due to contracts signed with Labor’s Renewable Technology Fund, are:

And there are a heap of other projects in the pipeline, including new stages of the Bungala and Tailem Bend solar projects, plans by DP Energy for a massive wind, solar, storage park near Port Augusta, even Adani has a solar project in plans to advance.

It’s not recognised by many that Weatherill never actually had a state-based renewable energy target as such. The 50 per cent by 2025 target was only announced after the ACT had signed contracts with Neoen for the massive 315MW wind farm near Jamestown.

At that stage, it was virtually impossible for South Australia not to get to 50 per cent, and it did so seven years early. South Australia was exceptionally good at attracting investment from a federal scheme while the often Coalition-led states in the east tried to stop it.

The revised 75 per cent target is a similar assessment of all the projects now under construction and planned.

Weatherill has left the state with an almost unstoppable momentum. AEMO says 73 per cent renewables will likely happen by 2021, and raises no fears about reliability or security. And it will cut prices – we know that because the Tesla big battery has already done so, dramatically, in just three months.

Of course, it would not be impossible to imagine that Marshall would seek to throw a spanner in the works. He has already done so with Tesla’s planned virtual power plant – the world’s biggest.

In doing so, he has dumped a largely privately funded scheme to install solar and battery storage in the homes of those who needed it most, and replaced it with a government subsidy to install batteries in the homes of people who already had enough money to install solar.

This is breathtakingly cynical or breathtakingly stupid, or both. But it continues the Alice in Wonderland policy path of the Coalition at federal and state levels, where they manage to contradict nearly everything a free-market political party is supposed to stand for.

There is ample precedent for Marshall to continue his belligerence. Liberal and LNP and Coalition governments have vandalised climate, clean energy and energy efficiency schemes in Queensland, Victoria and federally in recent years. But it would be an extraordinary case of self-destruction.

Marshall would be better advised to say not much at all about those new projects just now. Hopefully some wise advice might be whispered in his ear about the advantages of increased competition that can be delivered with “dispatchable” renewables.

And there can be no doubting that the biggest objection to the NEG is that it will reduce prices and competition. Even his state’s biggest network operator has raised this as its biggest fear.

Does Marshall really stand for lower bills? One of the attractions of the Tesla virtual power plant would be that it would usher in a new retail competitor in the market that needs it most. The NEG, as currently structured, would ensure there was no new competition.

It will be interesting to see what comes of his plan to subsidise a new link to NSW. Ironically, it was Rob Lucas, the man who will be Marshall’s state treasurer, who oversaw the privatisation of the state’s electricity industry when the Liberals were last in power.

As part of that deal, and in a bid to maximise the sale price, Lucas killed a plan for a new interconnector to NSW – a move that left the state in the hands of a small oligopoly of generators and retailers who have been ripping money out of consumer and business wallets ever since.

And it’s ironic for another reason too. It’s not entirely clear how a new link to NSW would be of benefit to the state given that NSW is even more dependent on imports from neighbouring states to support its ageing coal fleet.

Marshall, having argued that wind and solar have pushed prices up, is using the fact that wind and solar will push prices down “all across the nation” as justification for the new interconnector.

Perhaps Marshall is looking to support Transgrid and AEMO in their pursuit of renewable energy hubs. Transgrid sees some 14GW of wind and solar in its south-west corner of NSW alone. (See table above and this story: Transgrid: 100% renewables is feasible and affordable.)

Are you sure Turnbull and Frydenberg, and the right wing of the federal party, are OK with this?

So, it’s going to be fascinating to watch how Marshall and his new energy minister, Dan van Holst Pellekaan (the complexity of his name means we may have to call him “Baseload Dan” after reading many of his recent speeches) go about their task.

In the end, we suspect that – despite some crazy decisions like trying to kill the Tesla virtual power plant – the SA Liberals will embrace the momentum put in place by Weatherill’s team, and call it their own.

The remainder of the country would simply ask that they don’t stuff it up for the rest of us, because the NEG – unless dramatically revised – may be the biggest disaster inflicted on Australian energy policy yet.

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  1. George Darroch 3 years ago

    At least Marshall’s mob can only slow progress. They can’t push it backwards.

    • GlennM 3 years ago

      I hope you are correct…never underestimate the opposition..

    • Bighead1883 3 years ago
      • Joe 3 years ago

        …that’s Peter Dutton in the video…isn’t it?

        • Bighead1883 3 years ago

          It could be the majority of Australians seeind as LNP are in Fed gov

          • shiner2348 3 years ago

            This is one for the history books

        • Matthew 3 years ago

          No, Sir Robert, along with Sir Tom Playford, were among the greatest socialists of all time. Both would be spinning in their graves right now, if such things were possible. Not sure of the relevance of the clip to the discussion though.

          • Glynn Palmer 3 years ago

            Sir Robert was a Liberal. The current LNP is conservative.

          • Bighead1883 3 years ago

            This is to show the racism of the time
            The total born to rule mentality
            Socialist my arse,and he was a war monger reinstating conscription in 1964 when LCP controlled both houses

          • Rod 3 years ago

            He did Nationalise the electricity sector and started up the housing trust?
            That might be considered Socialism these days.

          • Bighead1883 3 years ago


            I can`t find anything to verify your other statement

            So you made 2 examples of Menzies ” socialism” and both appear wrong

          • Rod 3 years ago

            There’s the confusion. I was talking about Playford

          • Bighead1883 3 years ago

            You came into a thread that is discussing Menzies,make a reply then claim you`re talking about Playford
            You really are confused

          • Rod 3 years ago

            Yes, it must have been this bit.
            “No, Sir Robert, along with Sir Tom Playford, were among the greatest socialists of all time.”
            And maybe the confusion of why someone would drop a video of a Federal PM when the actual article was about a South Australian Premier.
            Probably also the reason I couldn’t be bothered clicking on the video.

          • Bighead1883 3 years ago

            You certainly didn`t mention either
            As far as that statement goes,neither of those gentlemen were fit to wipe Whitlam`s backside

      • Hettie 3 years ago

        Isn’t most of it privately owned anyway?

        • Bighead1883 3 years ago

          Read my comment again Hettie-the hint is in the tweet

          • Hettie 3 years ago

            Sorry, you are too clever for me.

          • Bighead1883 3 years ago

            Today Marshall announced ” South Australia is open for business”
            Libspeak = For sale
            Here`s a meme I made for the SA election https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86d286c906d0f672dee9458c3a1082124e241989c8e08fc2e9ce6fc5f6553e1c.jpg

          • Rod 3 years ago

            Yes, they are making noise about blocking trading hours changes but any one who has seen their Federal voting record knows they are showboating and will roll over for a few trinkets.
            Your meme needs one change IMHO. Stevie with his head up Trumble’s butt.

      • Hettie 3 years ago

        Er, Pig Iron Bob on the White Aus Policy???

        • Bighead1883 3 years ago

          That display is to show the callousness of the born to rule Tory mindset

  2. Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

    For a while there, we had a political leader in power who was an actual leader. There was hope that South Australia would complete the transition to 100% RE, make the rest of us jealous with cheap (free fuel) power bills and drag the entire country into the cleantech age.
    With Jay gone, I can’t think of a sitting politician delivering even a sliver of hope. Once again the waters are muddied. A sad weekend.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Its only…4 more years before SA Labor is back in the Big Chair to continue where they left off!

      • Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

        Or two solar doublings (in the nations that will eat our lunch).

      • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

        But a hell of a lot less before the LNP COALition gets consigned to the dustbin of political history!

        • Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

          Doesn’t that assume Shorten to be more inspiring than Turnbull?
          “Mr Shorten, where do you stand on Adani?”
          “Um, what electorate are you in?”

          Shorten needs to read the story of how Hawke came to power. In my first ever vote I backed him, because he vowed to stop the Franklin river dam. He took a principled stand. People respect that.

          • Hettie 3 years ago

            First time I ever voted Labor.
            I distinctly remember thinking, “Everything else will all be the same in 100 years, but if the Franklin is dammed, that wilderness is lost forever.”
            Funnily enough, at the time I was living in Franklin Street, Eltham. Vic. Don’t think that influenced my vote , though it was mud brick country, and I later built a mud brick house, but that’s another story.

          • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

            What does this mean to you? Adani has to stand on its own feet, economically and environmentally. Does this statement vacillate in any way?

            Adani was approved by Greg Hunt. Those approvals are still in place. The environmental approvals were also made by Greg Hunt. The LNP COALition would grant the NAIF loan in a heartbeat if they could.

            The Queensland Government granted approvals for royalties and water use. These ONLY come into effect if the mine ever gets into production.

            The Queensland Labor Government refused to back the NAIF loan.

            Have you noticed lately that the Federal LNP COALition have gone very quiet on Adani? Why? Because they are hoping that they will get Bill Shorten to resile from his statement above, and are hammering away at his alleged prevarication.

            Shorten has changed his tune on Adani, but it has changed in line with ongoing developments and revelations as the true nature of Adani’s perfidy and government manipulation has become clearer.

            The other point to consider is that if Shorten unequivocally condemns Adani, and is subsequently elected to government, and subsequently cancels the previous government’s approvals of Adani, then Adani will take the Government to court and probably win billions of dollars in compensation. That is a battle yet to be fought, and that the LNP COALition neither has the guts or political will to do.


        • Hettie 3 years ago

          What will happen when the 30 ticks over?
          A repeat of the Y2K bug?

          • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

            The energy technology revolution is inexorable. It may falter slightly by people who do not understand simple maths*, it may take a slightly different path as the technology changes, it may be slightly delayed by ideaology, but it will not stop.

            *Note: this article applies equally to the energy issues that Australia faces. Eddie Wu said,’The fact that climate change denial can survive has a direct causal relationship with mathematical illiteracy.’ This also applies to the LNP COALition’s rejection of renewable energy.


      • Hettie 3 years ago


        • rob 3 years ago

          I told you all this was going to happen!!!! Me I’m devo and need a hug from all my friends which totals zero,,,,,,that is what mental illness does to you

          • Rod 3 years ago

            You aren’t alone in needing a hug today. About 47% of South Australian’s are devo too.

          • rob 3 years ago

            thanks rod

          • Rod 3 years ago

            As Sir Ren says. could be worse. We are well on the way to 75% and the economics mean renewables will win out eventually even with COALition puppets standing in the way.

          • Matthew 3 years ago

            Rod, I think it’s more than 47% but I can’t find a 2 party preferred figure anywhere. The local media reported that there was a 1.5% swing to Labor (on top of what they won in 2014), but that the most recent electoral redistribution (which the Labor govt opposed) made it virtually impossible for them to win.
            And Rob, a big hug from me too!

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Buck up soldier -things could be worse.

          • rob 3 years ago

            not much buddy!

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            That’s Sir Buddy to you.

          • rob 3 years ago

            that really was fucked as a comment…….i’m off to bed crying……so not nice

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            There there.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            So you’re Ok then?

      • neroden 3 years ago

        Possibly less. Marshall has a very small majority — it’s what, two seats? Start taking odds on a vote of no confidence…

    • solarguy 3 years ago

      Very sad indeed Carl but, I fear we haven’t felt the worst yet.

  3. Kevfromspace 3 years ago

    On top of this, we have Engie’s Willogoleche Wind Farm (119MW) coming online within the next 3 months. Additionally, AGL has informed AEMO that it intends to progressively mothball Torrens Island A Power Station (TIPS) between 2019 and 2021.

    source: https://www.aemo.com.au/Electricity/National-Electricity-Market-NEM/Planning-and-forecasting/Generation-information

    • Hettie 3 years ago

      Now there’s interesting. AGL has clearly realised it is an energy Company, not a coal fired generating company.
      Of course, it did start life as a gas Co, and that was coal gas….. but it is good news. Now, AGL go lean on the feds to demonstrate that they have more than one neuron to share amongst them.

      • Glynn Palmer 3 years ago

        Torrens Island is OCGT. The G is for gas.

        • Rod 3 years ago

          Yes and the replacement plant will be gas. Peaking reciprocating engines but still gas.

        • Ian 3 years ago

          TIPS A and TIPS B are steam boilers and steam turbine technology. Not an OCGT or CCGT in sight. The replacement reciprocating engines will be more efficient from the start and more efficient again if they are installed in co-gen configuration. The irony is that recip engines don’t meet the criteria for rotating inertia and must be joined with batteries or some other inertia device. Unfortunately batteries don’t qualify as inertia under the proposed NEG.

    • Glynn Palmer 3 years ago

      Torrens Island A went online in 1967 so it has now had its 50th birthday. FF power stations generally retire at age 50.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      There was a very light on details article the other day in the Advertiser about an approval for a gas plant out North. I can’t recall where or the gentailer.
      It doesn’t appear on the AEMO upcoming generators list which means another stupid beat up by Mudrake.
      Also interested to see Leigh Creek syngas plant nameplate of 500MW. It will be interesting to see how that will fit in.

      • BushAxe 3 years ago

        There’s been a number of DA’s for OGCT plant recently. Origin want to install 3 LM6000’s (@165MW) at Quarantine, Alina want to build at a new site at Temples (up to 6 LM6000’s) and EA will put an LM2500 in an existing pad at Hallet. There won’t be any significant generation up Leigh Creek way unless a new transmission line is built.

        • Rod 3 years ago

          Thanks for the clarification.I can’t find the article. It may have been the Temples project the article was about. It looked like a very early part of the application process. Wiki has something about Reeves Plains, which I assume is the same project. Seems to be a lot of plant on order that will sit around doing nothing most of its life. I wonder if they can sniff capacity payments in the air.
          Marshall has threatened to sell the SA TM2500s which is OK by me if they aren’t competing in the market at the moment. As long as they are sold to a new Gentailer.

          • BushAxe 3 years ago

            Yep Reeves Plains/Templers is the same project. Industry is building capacity to replace TIPS A now that AGL has committed to start replacing it with the Barker Inlet PS. The SA govt PS won’t be finished until 2019/2020 (about the same time as the others) so it’ll be interesting to see if they get much interest in a sale as AGL/Origin/Engie won’t be allowed to buy it.

          • Rod 3 years ago

            “as AGL/Origin/Engie won’t be allowed to buy it.”
            Thanks, I didn’t know that. Good.

  4. Kevfromspace 3 years ago

    Does anybody know why the Tailem Bend project is *not* using single-axis tracking solar?

  5. Joe 3 years ago

    Imma reading me Sydney Morning Herald newspaper today ( 19/3 ) and there is an item about Energy written by Nicole Hassam. In there is a contribution from the Joshie still banging on about the 2016 SA state blackout and here is the Joshie’s quote…’The painful lesson of South Australia’s experience ( the 2016 statewide blackout ) is a warning shot to other states that seek more intermittent sources of power without the necessary storage and backup”. No acknowledgement from the Joshie that a Megastorm knocked down transmission towers that paralysed the states energy transmission. No, the Joshie continues with his lies. It’s all the fault of RE ( not the Megastorm ) and Joshie’s beloved Coalers, they would’ve been able to continue powering SA even with all the transmission towers flat on the ground. On another issue the Marshall will kill off Jay’s VPP plan but the Marshall can’t kill off the idea of VPP’s. In me same Sydney Morning Herald newspaper Cole Latimer writes about The ACT’s successful trial of their VPP. Not only were home battery households part of the trail but also people without batteries as they were also part of ‘demand management’ in the trial. And finally what do we make of the Marshall and The Murray River Water Theft issue. In the washup of The Royal Commission is the Marshall going to go hard on the theft and mismanagement upstream or will he toe the The COALition line of…’it’s all good, the cotton and rice growing water thieves have our blessing’.

    • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

      yep. It wont be long before South Australians start hollering for a Marshall (to piss off).

    • Rod 3 years ago

      Marshmellow will bend over and take what ever his COALition masters do to him.

  6. Joe 3 years ago

    Looking for a name shortener for Dan Pellekaan. I think if got it….’The Pelican’

  7. Pedro 3 years ago

    Seems to be the story of RE/Climate change politics, when a government starts to do something sensible in this area they get voted out. Perhaps the only way forward is to start arguing purely from an economic/energy security standpoint, and forget about the other issues of Climate change and low carbon emission technology.

    My only complaint about Jay Weatherill would be the virtual battery bank idea for picking a brand. Better to set a criteria and market finds the best value solution.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      You are correct but the Murdoch press has brainwashed the hard of thinking into believing renewables are the reason for electricity price rises.

  8. Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

    It sucks – Marshall will take the credit for what Wetherill had started….so the LNP will take the credit while they find ways of backsliding on the NEG…this the most positive outcome of the recent election. Yes I am trying to see the glass half full…..

    • Peter Campbell 3 years ago

      I hope the new opposition take every opportunity to remind SAers why their bills are going down and who should not be taking credit.

      • Hettie 3 years ago

        That will not be easy. Murdoch has stranglehold on SA news organs.
        Social media is the best bet for getting the word out.

        • Gyrogordini 3 years ago

          Plus The Conversation, The Saturday Paper and The Monthly, and the good, old Guardian (I subscribe to them all, plus The Age).

          • Hettie 3 years ago

            Sadly, too few others do the same. So sharing relevant articless on social media – yes, Carrington thingy and Facebook and data mining – is one way to get the truth in front of the clueless.

      • Rod 3 years ago

        That won’t happen. One of their election promises was to reduce bills by almost exactly what AEMO predicted renewables were going to achieve anyway.
        The electoral commission ordered them to delete that promise.

      • Michael Murray 3 years ago

        What makes you think bills will be going down ?

        • Peter Campbell 3 years ago

          Do you not read RenewEconomy? (Well, maybe not down absolutely but relatively; coming more into line with the other states.)

          • Michael Murray 3 years ago

            Yes I do. I also see the wholesale prices coming down in SA. Not sure I’m convinced that the retailers will pass that onto customers. Call me cynical !

  9. Patrick Comerford 3 years ago

    As the old saying goes you make your bed you lie in it. Feel sorry for all those switched on South Australians who supported Premier Jays very successful efforts to firmly establish a modern RE grid.
    If it all turns to shit again for SA tell someone who cares. I think Marshall will ensure the state drifts back to being of little consequence in where we will be heading once a federal Labor government takes charge in Canberra next year if not sooner.
    Note Turnbull is now at 28 out of 30 negative Newspoles and counting down.

    • Roger Brown 3 years ago

      It’s actually 58 negative News polls ! Abborts 30 + 28 of Turncoats !

    • Gyrogordini 3 years ago

      Actually, I think it is “… and you lay in it.” However, where the COALition and it’s State cronies are concerned, you had it correct.

      • Hettie 3 years ago

        Er, no. You lay an egg, lay a burden down, lay out a plan, but you lie in bed.
        Usage is changing, but some of us wish it wouldn’t.

        • Gyrogordini 3 years ago

          Fair enough!

  10. Matthew 3 years ago

    Giles, you always write so well, but this would have to be one of your finest essays to date. Yes, it’s a travesty, Labor has a swing towards it and loses the election to a smirking clown, whose main policy is to extend shopping hours. The only consolation is that I don’t think he is really capable of much and so, it is to be hoped, won’t cause much damage.
    If I knew how to nominate you for a Walkley Award I would; perhaps other, more influential people reading this can take it up.

    • Giles 3 years ago

      Very kind of you to say so Matthew. Not sure about Walkleys, think you have to be a union member in any case.

      • Gyrogordini 3 years ago

        “Walkley for Giles”, promoted by the Union of Concerned Aussie Citizens…

    • Michael Murray 3 years ago

      2014 was pretty close. What cost Labor this time, even with the swing, was the redistribution. So if you want to cry travesty you have to have an argument that there was something wrong with the redistribution. I’m not knowledgeable enough about politics to say if the AEC got something wrong. It will be interesting to see the final 2PP.

      • Rod 3 years ago

        Yes, i feel guilty for not following the seat distribution story more closely. It has affected the previous two elections. The umpire is meant to be impartial and both parties never seem unhappy with the outcome if they see it disadvantages them and both have taken it to the courts AFAIK.
        More worrying is the fierce partisanship in certain locations around the State. A very narrow band of swinging voters in SA.

        • neroden 3 years ago

          The solution is simple: proportional representation for the lower house, same as in the Senate

      • Matthew 3 years ago

        Hey Michael, it has nothing to do with the AEC.
        South Australia conducts redistributions after every election, unlike other states in Australia. The SA “Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission” was set up in 1975 to ensure that the result is “fair” – ie. that a majority of the two-party-preferred vote gives a majority of seats. This is an impossible task and quite ridiculous when you think about it. It might work in a ‘first past the post’ system such as in the UK, but not in a preferential voting system where there are multiple candidates each offering diverse platforms. Maths has always done my head in, but 2-party preferred becomes a bit of a nonsense when people might want to vote for none other than the Greens or the Australian Conservatives. Yet under the preferential system there is the danger that their vote will translate into support for either of the two main parties. I am not knocking the preferential voting system – it is far more democratic than first past the post, but to redraw the boundaries after each election is manipulation at its worst.

        • Michael Murray 3 years ago

          Thanks. I didn’t realise we do our own.

        • neroden 3 years ago

          You need proportional representation. Like you have for the Senate. It makes it impossible to gerrymander.

      • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

        I think that looking at the 2014 result you have to be amazed that Labor got in. They trailed on the primary vote by 9 percentage points, and still by 6 percentage points on a 2PP basis. Some heavily gerrymandered constituencies there.

        The sharp drop in turnout this time is hardly a vote of confidence in any of the politicians.

        • Rod 3 years ago

          “Gerrymander” is Government driven. In SA we have an independent body in charge.

  11. solarguy 3 years ago

    I hope your optimistic vision is realized Giles, it should be as it makes all the sense in the world. However, I can see king coal who donates so much to the Lying Nasty Party will get their way.

    I would love to be wrong, but I have a feeling Aurora won’t get built either.

    • Glynn Palmer 3 years ago

      South Australia doesn’t have high grade coal reserves and I understand Marshall is going to ban fracking in SA that will reduce gas supplies that Sa relies on for balancing generation, frequency and FCAS

      • Rod 3 years ago

        I think the fracking “moratorium” is only in the South East.

      • solarguy 3 years ago

        Don’t believe anything a Lib says, money clearly talks to them. Turdbull a great example.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      Yes, still waiting for the Fed loan. I share your concern on that one.

  12. Sally Noel Triggell 3 years ago

    We really need an overhaul over our media laws. The sooner we make it illegal to spread lies and propaganda, the sooner we get democracy back.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      Nailed it.
      The only ahem news “paper” in town has a lot to answer for.
      I don’t watch Fox News but I expect that would be even worse.

    • Chris Marshalk 3 years ago


      Spot on.

  13. Matthew 3 years ago

    Quote from article – “And it will cut prices – we know that because the Tesla big battery has already done so, dramatically, in just three months.”
    Wikipedia says “During two days in January 2018 … the battery made its owners an estimated A$1,000,000.”
    Can I ask a question please? It may be out of place, but where else can I ask? I thought the SA Labor Govt paid for the battery at Hornsdale, but Wikipedia says that it is owned by Neoen and Tesla. That can’t be right. Since when did a government (except in the case of Adani) put up the funds and let someone else reap the profits?

    • Glynn Palmer 3 years ago

      I can’t verify this but Neoen funded this project and the SA government has a PPA for 75MW to be used to firm up the grid.
      It has already proven its lightning fast response to pumping energy into the grid to correct low frequency. It beat the contracted Gladstone power station in Qld to respond to a trip on a Victorian coal unit that affected frequency.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      There are a lot of articles on here about it, but I don’t think anyone knows how much SA paid towards the big battery. Some estimates were between $50 million and $25 million. And the ongoing cost of FCAS services it provides.
      SA don’t own it. SA as a State will benefit in the FCAS market savings and the lowering of average spot prices.
      It also will enable a greater amount of zero fuel cost generation, again depressing average spot prices.

    • BushAxe 3 years ago

      The battery’s owned by Neoen it has a contract with the State government to provide 70MW of FCAS/grid support services, best info I’ve heard is it’s $50m over 10 years which underwrote the construction of the battery.

  14. rob 3 years ago

    As a South Aussie @gilesParkinson I can’t even respond……..Too many tears flowing here

  15. Glynn Palmer 3 years ago

    The last federal election was 20 August 2016. The polls have Labor 2PP at 53%. So we have maybe 2 years (the same life as the price on carbon pollution) of The NEGative electricity policy. That is after Labor consults, gauges public opinion and drafts legislation..

    Labor will probably take a close look at Finkel’s recommendations or perhaps do the energy intensity policy they took to the last election. They should model all policies on the table including the NEG and select the one that will give us affordable, reliable electricity and deliver better emissions reductions than 28% by 2030.

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      ..which at present is not the undefined NEG… not the politically expedient NEG… not the Get out of Jail Free Card NEG… not the rushed anti-venom to Finkel’s potent scientific and effective EIS ???

      Let’s face it. Turnbull and Frydenberg’s NEG is a bunch of bull crud.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      That is what SA and ACT I think asked for. A comparison of all 3 options.
      But the NEG was dreamed up with one aim (maybe two) and lowering customer bills wasn’t one of them.

    • Hettie 3 years ago

      With any luck, Senate estimates and other committees will delay NEG substantially, even if the next COAG gives it the in principle green light. So much is still vague.
      Latest date for next election is 18 May next year, because of Senate terms. Waffles may be silly enough to go soon, after Tas and SA wins. Who knows? Then negative poll no 30 is coming up fast. And for all his talk of nimble, this mob have been only slightly more nimble than – I was going to say Ayers Rock, oops Uluru, but Statement from the Heart debale makes that very culturally insensitive… oh shit. They can’t get out of their own way. So a year is hardly long enough to do a lot of damage. In the meantime, the Renewables industry will be going flat out to get as much done as they can before the axe falls.

  16. Robert Comerford 3 years ago

    Thank you to Jay, for showing Australians what is possible. Sadly Australians get the politicians they deserve, he was an exception.
    Now it is back to the usual SNAFU
    Fence sitter Bill continues on his way having dodged a bullet in Victoria.

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      Don’t you mean having dodged a Greens cluster funk?

      • Hettie 3 years ago

        Hi, Groucho.

        • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

          A likely story – and probably true.

  17. Radbug 3 years ago

    And Labor won in Batman. This means that Bill Shorten no longer needs to look over his shoulder at what The Greens are doing in the ALP’s inner city Federal Divisions and can concentrate on the Federal Coalition. The Liberals should have participated in Batman and given their second preferences to The Greens. That would have crippled Shorten, but they stuffed it up, again.

  18. Petra Liverani 3 years ago

    OK, so Labor increased their share but they should have got in. So many humans are really dumb, no wonder we’re in the state we’re in.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      Conservative voters are either very rich or very stupid. Unfortunately we in SA have a lot of the latter.
      A quick visit to the Advertiser online forums will confirm.

      • Petra Liverani 3 years ago

        If only they were confined to SA.

  19. Maggie 3 years ago

    ‘It’s not recognised by many that Weatherill never actually had a state-based renewable energy target as such. The 50 per cent by 2025 target was only announced after the ACT had signed contracts with Neoen for the massive 315MW wind farm near Jamestown.’

    To clarify, Weatherill did have a State based renewable energy target: http://saplan.org.au/targets/64-renewable-energy

    64. Renewable energy:
    Support the development of renewable energy so that it comprises 33% of the state’s electricity production by 2020

    (Milestone of 20% by 2014)

    • Rod 3 years ago

      Yes, I’d stumbled on the SA strategic plan document while wrestling pigs and quite definite RE targets. All of them smashed. I think it even went back to Rann’s time.

  20. Michael Murray 3 years ago

    First head on the chopping block ?

    SA Premier Steven Marshall tight-lipped on Elon Musk battery storage plan after election win


    • Joe 3 years ago

      He’s gonna tear it down?

  21. Michael Murray 3 years ago

    One positive from the change of government is that if the new lot give you the runs there will be a supermarket open at anytime of day for toilet paper.

  22. BushAxe 3 years ago

    Van-Pelican is appropriate Giles, interestingly his seat of Stuart covers the Mid-North (including Port Augusta & Jamestown) which is ground zero for RE in SA. Dan is fully aware of the employment and business that RE generates so he will have to tread carefully as we all know there is a massive opportunity for the region’s future here. My guess is the Liberals will be pushing the line of fixing Labor’s mess (storage/dispatchability) and hydrogen (you can burn it). They can’t let the Aurora project fall over or the voters will crucify them. I’m cautiously optimistic the short term will see the Federal government throwing some cash around to ‘reward’ SA for installing a Liberal government.

  23. brucelee 3 years ago

    where does this put the COAG voting??? How much Trouble can fed LNP do until the next fed election?

  24. shiner2348 3 years ago

    If this Marshall led Liberal government scrap everything that Jay W as put in place for the benefit of all South Australians,it will be a disaster for energy in SA. I personally blame the redistribution of boundaries for the election loss.In fact i am appalled by it.

    • Hettie 3 years ago

      He has said he will honour all contracts, but. …

    • Glynn Palmer 3 years ago

      Democracy demands that the party with the most 2PP votes controls the government. Marshall’s liberals got 52% of the 2PP vote. In 2014 the SA Liberals got 53% of the 2PP vote but because of the boundaries of electorates they didn’t win the most seats.

      But, I would have liked Wetherill to have won most seats with more votes.

      • neroden 3 years ago

        No. Democracy demands that the coalition with the most votes controls the government…

        We won’t really know what that is but you can get a clue from the Senate makeup.

  25. Gyrogordini 3 years ago

    A truly excellent piece, Giles. The quiet, underlying rage is fantastic. We are all with you!
    One small comment. You state that JW was THE only Premier fighting in the game. I would suggest that the ACT (coalition) government is now THE only one standing out against the NEG, will achieve 100% renewables by 2020, and is actively fighting the good fight. (Btw, I live in NSW, but that’s nothing to be proud of, energy wise!).

    • neroden 3 years ago

      I believe the new NT government is now on the right side, but they don’t have much power.

  26. Greg Hudson 3 years ago

    I’ve just observed something weird on the NEM watch re SA power generation and demand… (6:47 am Wed 21 Mar 2018)
    Gas gen = 446 MW
    Wind Gen = 1148 MW
    Total gen = 1598
    Demand = 1342
    This means there is 256 MW worth of Gas being burnt when there is NO demand for it. So, where is all that power going, and WHY ? My guess is it is being exported to Vic.
    If so, something is very wrong IMO. Gas is only supposed to be used if there is not enough wind & solar isn’t it ?
    Or, there’s something wrong with the App.
    Any comments anyone ?

    • Hettie 3 years ago

      Yes, exported to Vic. @ -$15/MWh

      • Greg Hudson 3 years ago

        General comment, not directed to you Hettie…
        Is this the AEMO’s idea of rampant stupidity ?
        PAYING Vic to accept power generated by gas, (at what cost to SA?)
        Assuming this is correct, someone should be losing their job – but we know that won’t happen with the pro FF AEMO will it ? (rhetorical question)…
        Maybe it is time for someone else to take over their job?
        That American woman… she should be in charge of both the one she’s doing, plus the AEMO (IMO).

        • Hettie 3 years ago

          Greg, the American woman, Audrey Zibelman, is the CEO of AEMO, which has proved itself to be willing and able to facilitate the transition to renewables. Its Integrated System Plan is a road map for how to do just that.
          The nigger in the woodpile, rockfall across the road, total obstruction, is AEMC, tool of the fossil fuel incumbents, responsible for unconscionable delay in introducing 5 minute settlement periods, provider of the authors of the dreadful NEG, and all round stooge of the coal lobby.
          AEMO is the good guy. The villain is AEMC.

    • RobertO 3 years ago

      Hi Greg Hudson, AEMO has regulations about how much Gas Gen must be running to keep the State stable and secure

      • Greg Hudson 3 years ago

        What a BS regulation. FORCING South Australia to burn gas (at huge cost) which is then being exported to Vic. What a bunch of AEMO idiots. But then again, what else can we expect from a bunch of pro fossil fuel dick heads.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      This is a good source to see what is going where.
      Hopefully AEMO will further reduce the requirement for gas fired spinning metal now the wind FCAS trial is over and the election is over 😉
      Also the more batteries (synthetic inertia) come on line the less need for mechanical inertia.

      • Greg Hudson 3 years ago

        Thanks for the reply, but it did not actually answer my questions…
        Isn’t gas only supposed to be used *IF* there is not enough wind?
        Is there something wrong with NEM watch App?

        • Rod 3 years ago

          The NEM Watch app was probably around the mark (they are all estimates) To maintain system security (in case of a major unit trip) a certain amount of physical inertia must always be running. AEMO have a very detailed requirement for x amount of wind x amount of gas. They have even determined which combinations of units can cover the requirement. They can also curtail wind to the current limit of 1290MW to keep the inertia % requirement. (we currently have about 1700MW of wind installed)
          Generation over demand would have been exported to Vic. and maybe charging the battery.
          One thing I am not sure about is the PPA Roxby? has with Pelican Point. If that means PP is always providing gas fired generation.

        • Rod 3 years ago

          It is mainly about system security and ensuring enough physical inertia is running in case of a unit trip.
          At the moment AEMO has some very conservative rules in place so for the time being we will always have gas generating. The excess is exported or stored.

  27. neroden 3 years ago

    At this point, even the Tasmanian Liberals (!!!) are looking like they’re going to back renewables and batteries.

    Is there really anything Turnbull can do to stop the unstoppable trend at this point? The NEG is designed to sabotage grid-side solar, wind, and batteries. But it can’t stop behind-the-meter solar and batteries, and by creating high grid prices and unreliable grid electricity, it will actually drive more people to adopt behind-the-meter solar and batteries.

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