The Power of Possibility: Renewable Energy Transformation in South Australia

Imagine a future where renewable sources provide all of our energy needs. In South Australia, that possibility isn’t too far from reality. The “Power of Possibility” is the theme behind a new advertising campaign launched by SA Power Networks. The campaign celebrates South Australia’s global leadership in integrating renewable energy sources into the state’s energy system. Renewable energy is transforming the state, and it’s not just about generating clean energy – it’s about creating better health and social outcomes, more jobs in renewables, smarter cities and cleaner air.

South Australia is leading the way in the transition to renewable energy. Image: Pixabay

Australia’s “Renewables State”

Having been known as the ‘Festival State’, the ‘Wine State’, and the ‘City of Churches’, South Australia can now proudly add the title of Australia’s “Renewables State” to the list.

What some may consider the future of energy is actually already happening in South Australia. Sometime in the next few months, South Australia is expected to become the first gigawatt-scale grid in the world to meet all its demand just from rooftop solar.

About a third of homes and businesses – some 300,000 – have installed rooftop solar, plus the state is starting to see an uptick in the sale of batteries, accelerated due to generous state government incentives and falling prices.

The Power Of Possibility

Paul Roberts, head of corporate affairs at SA Power Networks, said the new advertising campaign today is to celebrate the state’s global leadership in renewables.

“South Australians may not know, so we’re sharing and celebrating the fact that we are leading the world in powering our lives on renewable energy,” Roberts said.

The “Power of Possibility” campaign asks South Australians to imagine what could happen if their energy transition was “powered by possibility”. By imagining, SA residents are able to ask themselves questions about how this transformation in energy could improve health and social outcomes in their community. Better health means healthier people, which leads to higher levels of education, better workforce participation rates and improved mental wellbeing.

Roberts said that to a large degree the state’s energy transition has been driven by South Australian energy customers investing in solar and supporting a renewables-based system. The state is also home to the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, the 100MW/129MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve.

“The days of us just managing a one-way electricity distribution network are over,” Roberts said.

“Today we manage more than 1,100kW of energy coming into the energy system from people’s solar panels – collectively the biggest generator in South Australia.

“With the massive investment in large-scale solar and wind farms and rooftop solar, at times we can already supply the entire system from renewable energy sources.”

Roberts said there is no other system in the world of our size doing that or able to do that.

“With this campaign, we want to acknowledge and celebrate this amazing transition that we’re all a part of – both in helping make it happen and sharing in the benefits,” he said.

Why Is South Australia Such A Renewable Energy Powerhouse?

Less than two decades ago, South Australia generated all its electricity from fossil fuels. Last year, renewables provided an incredible 60% of the state’s electricity supply. How is the state making such significant inroads while other states and territories limp behind?

Firstly, South Australia had both the motivation and means to transition to renewables. The state is hot and flat with abundant wind and solar resources, while its dry climate also makes it extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

At the end of the day, however, South Australia’s rare renewable transition success is largely owed to thoughtful and ambitious Government planning and policy, backed by private investment, distribution network innovation and an environmentally-conscious population ready to embrace renewables.

South Australia is now expected to achieve its net 100% renewable energy target by 2025, five years ahead of schedule.

The South Australian government is also aiming to reach 500% renewables by 2050, becoming a renewable energy superpower that exports surplus energy to other states and nations. This plan is driving new investment, jobs and economic growth in the state.

As energy markets the world over grapple with making the clean energy transition, South Australia proves it can be done.

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