Plains gas plant a contradiction: Libs

ALINTA Energy’s proposal to construct a $450 million gas-fired power plant locally has contradicted the need for the State Government to spend $360 million on its own power station, according to the State Opposition.

Last month, the West Australian-based energy provider informed Adelaide Plains Council of its plans to develop the gas turbine power station in Reeves Plains, just west of Roseworthy, saying it would be capable of providing up to 300 megawatts (MW) of energy production in the area.

The proposal followed the announcement of the State Government’s Energy Plan, aimed at solving the state’s energy problems, which included a $360 million commitment to build a state-owned, 250MW gas power plant to be used in emergency situations.

So far, the government has received 31 expressions of interest to develop the plant, and has already short-listed some of them.

Shadow Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the proposed Reeves Plains power station, along with AGL’s recent decision to build a new generator at its Torrens Island station, negated the need for the state-owned plant.

“Tom Koutsantonis said he will spend $360 million of taxpayers’ money to build a new gas generator because private industry will not,” he said.

“But, since then, AGL has confirmed it will build one and Alinta has proposed another, which proves the minister completely misunderstands the market and his plan is flawed.”

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis confirmed the State Government has been assisting Alinta with its proposal, as it prepares to submit a development application.

However, he wouldn’t be drawn on the question of whether the gas station contradicted the need for a public power plant.

Instead, he said the Energy Plan has already driven up business competition for the state’s energy through initiatives, such as tendering out 75 per cent of the state’s energy needs over the next 10 years and creating an Energy Security Target (EST) compelling retailers to source an amount of their energy from local generators.

“As we saw when AGL announced they will construct a new generator at Torrens Island, our Energy Plan is working by creating the certainty the private sector needs to pursue investment in the market,” he said.

“We…encourage Alinta to submit the project for development application.”

The EST will come into operation next January, with consultation on the target having closed in May.

Alinta Energy has estimated the Reeves Plains station would be completed and operational by January 2019, subject to development approvals.

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Matteo Gagliardi joined The Bunyip in August 2016 with almost two years experience in regional print media, having previously worked at a community newspaper in Swan Hill, Victoria. Covering politics, local government and crime, Matteo likes to sink his teeth into hard-hitting issues, but also enjoys spending time getting to know the Gawler community. Matteo also has a passion for science, agriculture and the environment, and has previously worked as a media officer at the Australian Science Media Centre.

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