South Australia's back-up generators to cost $110 million
GENERATORS to provide back-up power to the state, as part of the government's energy plan, will cost $110 million, officials have confirmed.
Giving evidence to a parliamentary committee on Monday morning, Under Treasurer David Reynolds confirmed the State Government had allocated $60 million for "temporary generation" of power this financial year and $50 million in 2018-19.
The generators could run on diesel, or other fuels such as gas.
Premier Jay Weatherill announced the government's $550 million energy plan in mid March.
It included a backup plan to install massive temporary generators to ensure power supply over summer until a planned $360 million new gas-fired state-owned power plant is up and running.
The plan also called for enormous battery storage.
The government announced on Friday that billionaire Elon Musk's company Tesla will build a 100MW lithium ion battery at Jamestown in the state's Mid North.
Mr Weatherill has said the battery farm will cost around $50 million.
In Whyalla on Monday, Mr Weatherill revealed Mr Musk's bid for his company, Tesla, to build the world's largest battery was the cheapest option.
"Yes, on everyday value it came out on top," Mr Weatherill said.
"In terms of making an assessment it was head and shoulders above the other bids.
"It also has other side benefits of providing this extraordinary international exposure for SA and its leadership. All of those things were powerful. It was the best value for money."
Mr Weatherill said there still could be other opportunities for the other 90 bidders.
"This is just the beginning of investment in battery technologies, once we prove up that you can write a contract with a renewable energy company, and it's a firm contract, (that) changes everything.
"It's almost the holy grail of energy policy."
Mr Reynolds told the parliamentary committee on Monday morning that funding had been allocated at $5 million a year to be paid over 10 years.
The government had not previously put a cost on the planned generators, arguing that would influence the tender process.
In March, Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the government was aiming to have the generators in place by December 1, in preparation for summer.
Mr Koutsantonis at that time said he wanted "hybrid" generators which could run on either diesel or gas.
Opposition energy spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan noted that the generators would cost taxpayers more than twice as much as the battery storage.
Mr van Holst Pellekaan accused the government of creating "great fanfare" over the battery announcement, and Mr Musk's involvement, while keeping quiet the cost of the generators.
He said it would have taken $8 million a year - in comparison - to help keep a since-closed coal-fired power station open in Port Augusta to supply power which would now need to come from the generators.
Mr van Holst Pellekaan expected the generators would have to run on diesel.
"This government could have easily avoided blackouts and kept electricity prices low in South Australia," he said.