Renewable energy

South Australia is at the vanguard of the global energy transition, having transformed its energy system from 1% to over 60% renewable energy in just over 15 years.

By 2025/2026, the Australian Energy Market Operator forecasts this could rise to approximately 85%.

South Australia’s aspiration is to achieve 100% net renewables by 2030. In 2021, South Australia met 100% of its operational demand from renewable resources on 180 days (49%).

AEMO insights: South Australia renewable energy generation

South Australia has attracted over A$6 billion investment in large-scale renewable energy and storage projects to date with over A$30 billion in the investment pipeline.

We are focused on:

  • large-scale renewable energy generation and storage such as wind, solar PV, solar thermal, batteries, pumped hydro, compressed air and thermal storage
  • distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar, bioenergy and batteries
  • energy efficiency and demand management
  • hydrogen production, use and export
  • uptake of zero emission vehicles and investment in charging and refuelling infrastructure
  • supply-chain development of low-carbon technologies
  • research and industry partnerships in low carbon technologies.

South Australian Government key projects

A$118 m Home Battery Scheme

Our $118 million Home Battery Scheme supports installation of home battery systems on 40,000 South Australian homes, complemented by funding from Clean Energy Finance Corporation for low interest loans for the subsidised battery systems and new or additional solar (if required).

A$50 m Grid Scale Storage Fund

The Grid Scale Storage Fund aims to accelerate the roll-out of grid-scale energy storage infrastructure and address the intermittency of South Australia’s electricity supplies and provide important grid stabilisation services.

A$30 m Demand Management Trials Program

The Demand Management Trials Program aims to show how new and distributed technologies can help make the grid more efficient and reward consumers for managing their own demand by funding trials of demand response, demand aggregation and integration of distributed generation assets.

Project EnergyConnect

Project EnergyConnect, a new Interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales, will support the expansion of the renewable sector by enabling green energy produced in South Australia to be exported to NSW, while providing increased power system reliability.

South Australia's Virtual Power Plant

With the support of the Government of South Australia, Tesla and electricity retailer Energy Locals are developing South Australia's Virtual Power Plant (SA VPP) - a network of potentially 50,000 solar and Tesla Powerwall home battery systems across South Australia, all working together to form the world's largest virtual power plant.

Switch for Solar program

The Switch for Solar program allows eligible concession holders to exchange 10 years of their energy concession and Cost of Living Concession for a solar PV system, installed at little to no upfront cost. Participants get a 4.4 kilowatt solar PV system and the potential to make savings on their energy bill.

Established industries

Solar

We have one of the best climates for solar, with three large scale solar farms and one of the highest per capita levels of rooftop solar installed anywhere in the world. Solar PV generated over 20% of South Australia’s electricity in 2020–21.

Wind

We have world class wind resources, with 22 wind farms in operation and two under construction. Wind generated over 40% of South Australia’s electricity in 2020–21, the highest percentage share of any Australian state or territory.

Battery

South Australia has the highest uptake of residential batteries in Australia and has four grid-scale batteries, headlined by the world-renowned Hornsdale Power Reserve built in 2017 and expanded in 2019.

Future-ready

Clean hydrogen

South Australia has the wind, sun, land, infrastructure and skills to be a world-class producer, user and exporter of hydrogen.

South Australia’s Hydrogen Action Plan sets out 20 key actions across five areas to realise the vision of leveraging the state’s competitive advantages to become a world class hydrogen supplier. These key areas are:

  1. facilitate investments in hydrogen infrastructure
  2. establish a world-class regulatory framework
  3. deepen trade relationships and supply capabilities
  4. foster innovation and workforce skills development
  5. integrate hydrogen into our energy system.

Download South Australia’s Hydrogen Action Plan:

The South Australian Government has to date committed more than $40 million in grants and loans to the development of three megawatt-scale renewable hydrogen projects including:

  • Australian Gas Networks (AGN) – Hydrogen Park South Australia (HypSA)
    AGN, part of Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) recently launched its $14.5 million demonstration project comprising a 1.25 megawatt (MW) electrolyser at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide’s southern suburbs. The project is a first step towards decarbonising South Australia’s gas network, beginning with 700 homes in the Mitchell Park area now receiving cleaner blended gas, comprising five per cent renewable hydrogen.
  • The Hydrogen Utility™ (H2U) – Eyre Peninsula Gateway
    Australian hydrogen infrastructure company H2U is developing a world leading $240 million hydrogen project that will see the installation of a 75MW electrolyser near Whyalla, capable of producing enough hydrogen to create 40,000 tonnes of ammonia each year.
  • Trafigura Group Pte Ltd - Port Pirie Green Hydrogen Project
    Trafigura, one of the largest physical commodities trading groups in the world, is investigating plans to develop a landmark $750 million hydrogen project to be integrated with the Nyrstar Port Pirie lead smelter in the state's north. If approved, the project will be developed in a phased manner, initially producing 20 tonnes of green hydrogen per day for export in the form of green ammonia.

In 2020, South Australia completed a pre-feasibility study for exporting hydrogen from South Australia to Asia and produced a hydrogen export modelling tool and prospectus for use by industry.

In 2021, South Australia and the Port of Rotterdam executed a Memorandum of Understanding to study hydrogen export from South Australia to Europe.

Also in 2021, the South Australian government called for Expressions of Interest from industry to access publicly owned land at Port Bonython. Port Bonython was identified through the state's Hydrogen Export Modelling Tool as a highly prospective location for both green and blue hydrogen export.

Electric vehicles

The South Australian government is making the state’s biggest ever investment in electric vehicles, committing $18.3 million to roll out its Electric Vehicle Action Plan.

The government has also announced in October 2021 a $3,000 State Government-funded subsidy for motorists who purchase a new electric vehicle as well as a three year motor registration fee exemption for new electric vehicles purchased before 30 June 2025.

The Electric Vehicle Action Plan includes $13.4 million to leverage private sector investment to accelerate the roll out of a statewide charging network, targeting more than 50 preferred service locations to deliver approximately 500 rapid and fast charging stations.

Clean technology minerals

Minerals are critical to powering the world’s clean energy and technology transformation. South Australia’s major export – copper – is leading this transition with 67% of Australia’s copper resources.

As we move from 60% to 100% net renewable energy by 2030, South Australia is growing ‘green’ minerals and processing industries to supply copper and other critical minerals across the globe, for low emissions technologies including electric vehicles and renewable energy technology. There is strong demand well into the future for our natural resources, boosted by the world’s largest zircon mine, 65% of Australia’s graphite, cobalt and magnesite deposits, and new rare earth element discoveries.

Explorers and miners are supported by a modern regulatory system and a willingness to actively pursue a sustainable pipeline of mineral products aiming for low impact activities, zero emissions mines of the future, and sharing the benefits with communities.

Responding to climate change

South Australia's leadership in transitioning its energy system, abundant natural resources, skilled workforce and research sector provide a strong base from which to transform its economy and achieve its twin goals of reducing state greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

South Australia's Climate Change Action Plan 2021–2025 outlines our roadmap to achieving these goals.

Fast facts

  • South Australia covers 1 million square kilometres
  • Population: 1.35 million in Adelaide, 1.78 million in South Australia
  • Adelaide is currently ranked the third most liveable city in the world
  • South Australia’s emissions have reduced by 33% since 2005
  • South Australia has committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and has gone one step further to legislate this as well as our goal to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% by 2030
  • South Australia has moved from 1% to over 60% renewable energy generation in just 15 years
  • South Australia is home to the original world’s largest battery, the 150MW Hornsdale Power Reserve
  • More than 1 in 3 (40%) homes in South Australia have solar PV systems installed
  • In 2020, 30% of all home batteries installed in Australia were installed in South Australia
  • There is around A$30 billion invested in the renewable energy project pipeline
  • By 2050, South Australia could generate five times more renewable energy than it needs to meet current grid demand
  • South Australia is home to the world’s largest zircon mine, and 65% of Australia’s graphite, cobalt and magnesite deposits
  • In 2021, South Australia produced 305,000 tonnes of copper – that’s enough copper to power 3.4 million electric vehicles or 70,000 wind turbines

Contacts

Looking to identify opportunities, strategic partnerships and get advice on the South Australian energy sector?

For general enquiries contact:

Growth and Low Carbon Division
Department for Energy and Mining
Email: glc@sa.gov.au

You can also speak to the Energy and Mining sector specialists.