The State Liberals are demanding the Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis details exactly how much taxpayers will be handing over to pay for the 200 megawatts of temporary diesel generation he is hiring as insurance against blackouts in South Australia this coming summer.
“The Weatherill Government’s decision to close the Northern Power Station has left South Australia dangerously short of reliable electricity and as a consequence it has been forced to hire diesel generators to keep the lights on,” said Shadow Minister for Energy Dan van Holst Pellekaan.
“Ironically the Weatherill Government’s failed energy policies have actually led to a reduction in next year’s renewable energy target.
“Last week’s State Budget shows the Weatherill Government’s renewable energy generated target reducing from 55 per cent in 2016-17 to 43 per cent next financial year.
“South Australians are facing crippling increases in the price of electricity in the coming months whilst the amount of renewable energy we are using is actually declining which in direct contradiction to the Weatherill Government’s stated policy outcomes.
“Jay Weatherill’s justification for punishing South Australians with the highest electricity prices in the nation was to fund the use of more renewable power, but now that won’t even be achieved.
“The fact the State Budget allocates $114 million for operational costs in 2017/18 from the Weatherill Government’s $550 million electricity plan indicates the diesel generators are going to be very expensive.
“18 months ago the Tasmanian Government spent $64 million in leasing, site establishment and operational costs for 220 megawatts of diesel generation for three months when a combination of drought and repairs to the Basslink left it short of electricity.
“Rather than spend $8 million per year to keep the Northern power Station operating, Jay Weatherill has chosen to spend up to $100 million per year on diesel generation until the Government turns on its promised gas generator in two years time.”