Already a renewables leader, the South Australian liberal government has supplemented its vision and investments by announcing 68 new actions and almost $200 million in additional fundings as part of its Climate Change Action Plan 2021–2025.
Developed with input from climate change expert Professor Ross Garnaut as well as the Premier’s Climate Change Council, the plan has seven focus areas which include climate “smarting” several sectors, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, as well as developing a “world class renewable hydrogen industry.”
It is this clean hydrogen industry that Minister for Environment and Water, David Speirs, says will drive the state’s energy exports.
“This Plan will lead us to be a stronger, more resilient export economy – both domestically by exporting power through interconnectors to NSW and Victoria and internationally as exporter of clean hydrogen and other low emissions products,” Speirs said in a statement.
South Australia already has a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 – goals the Action Plan accelerates.
“The Plan includes practical actions including renewable energy investment, greening our cities to cool them, supporting agricultural adaption and innovation, helping business and communities to address climate risk, adapting natural resources, and improving our ability to plan and prepare for more frequent bushfires and other natural hazards,” Speirs said.
Specifically, the Action Plan includes an addition $18 million for the Home Battery Scheme, increasing funding for the program from $100 million to $118 million. It also includes $18.3 million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure over the next four years and $60 million over two years for upgrades to government buildings to improve energy efficiency, prioritising upgrades across the government’s largest energy users. Port Bonython jetty will be upgraded to the tune at $37 million over four years to support hydrogen and ammonia export.
The Action Plan also includes funding and programs to provide “high quality and accessible climate change science and information.” It also aims to adapt the state to a changing climate, including the increased risk of bushfires.
The Action Plan is being touted by the state government as “the most powerful vision for climate action of any South Australian Government in history.”
It follows similar bold plans announced in November by the more populace states, New South Wales and Victoria, which clearly also have visions of following South Australia’s renewables penetration triumphs.
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