Renewable energy
Wind mills are seen at the Tazigou wind power station in Fuxin, Liaoning province November 22, 2009. Reuters/Stringer

South Australia witnessed its green energy production reaching record levels. With this achievement, the state looks set to reach its renewable energy target of 50 percent eight years ahead of schedule.

According to the latest statistics from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), South Australia has generated 53 percent of its power from renewables like the sun and wind in the past year. The government’s earlier target of supplying 50 percent electricity through renewable sources was set for 2025.

While South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said reaching the target ahead of the schedule was a "good thing," as he took aim at the Opposition, emphasising on their lack of energy policy. "I am very pleased with those results. I am pleased that South Australia is leading the nation," Koutsantonis said. He added that Opposition Leader Steven Marshall “has no plan” to “continue to support dirty coal and has promised to scrap SA’s renewable energy target.”

“Unlike our opponents, we believe renewable energy is a good thing,” he said, adding that the lead taken by South Australia is something to be proud of. Koutsantonis said he was awaiting the next official AEMO update, concerning South Australia’s energy mix.

The state received a substantial amount of its electricity through wind farms and solar panels on Sunday. As much as 95 percent of the state’s power was derived from renewables for a large part of late morning and early afternoon. At the same time, spot electricity prices also became negative.

However, opposition energy spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the increasing levels of unreliable power in South Australia was prompting price hikes and threatening employment. “It’s the volatility that is the really big problem,” he said, speaking with the Advertiser. “The higher the share of renewable energy in our total generation mix, the more volatile the market will be until that energy can be stored and it can’t be at the moment at scale.”

Australia could see an increase in baseload electricity prices over the next year. They are expected to remain highest in South Australia. Forecasts concerning possible power shortfalls in the summer have also been made.

Last month, the State Government announced the construction of a new gas-fired power plant and the country’s biggest battery to secure the state’s energy supply, adding that it would spend in excess of $500 million for the project. The announcement came after the state experienced several blackouts and incidents of load-shedding.

Source: YouTube/ABC News (Australia)