South Australia to get nine new backup power generators

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The South Australian government will purchasing nine new backup power generators to prevent a repeat of last year’s statewide blackout.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill announced that the 275 Megawatt turbines will be installed at two separate locations at a temporary site for two years before being moved to a permanent site. The backup power generators are expected to be up and running by 1 December.

The nine aeroderivative turbines – which work like jet engines – will initially be powered by diesel before switching over to gas in the long term. The new project will replace the gas power station that was previously announced and will also be cheaper.

Backup power generators to be funded under SA $550 million energy plan

SA Premier Jay Weatherill
SA Premier Jay Weatherill

The generators will be funded through the existing $550 million South Australia energy plan. The plan also includes construction of the world’s biggest battery in the state’s mid-north by tech billionaire Elon Musk.

“Rather than purchasing temporary generators before building a new gas plant, this solution will deliver long-term, backup power generation for South Australia before this summer,” Weatherill said.

“Importantly, this solution will deliver more generation capacity than originally planned while emitting less carbon pollution.”

The temporary locations to be used will be alongside Adelaide’s desalination plant in the city’s south and on the soon-to-be-vacated Holden car assembly plant in the northern suburbs.

Backup power generators will not compete on energy market

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the existing infrastructure at the two sites made them good strategic locations for connection to the energy grid.

He said work was continuing to select the permanent location. The generators will not compete in the wholesale energy market and will only be switched on when the Australian Energy Market Operator gives the go-ahead to prevent load-shedding blackouts. Three instances were recorded last year.

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