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SA votes landmark energy bill

South Australia

South Australia’s Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Bill has passed both Houses of the South Australian Parliament.

This paves the way for the state to capitalise on its abundant wind and solar and underlining our status as a global clean energy leader.

The passage of the bill was welcomed by Energy and Mining Minister Tom Koutsantonis, who also thanked crossbench MLCs from SA Best and One Nation who backed the State Government’s bid to create a unique and modern legislative framework for the renewable energy transition.

“This is a historic day for South Australia,” Koutsantonis said.

“We’ve passed world-first legislation that is set to transform the state’s economy. Global policy makers will be closely watching what we managed to achieve today.

“The passage of this bill through Parliament marks a significant milestone in the state’s energy transition, and in our journey as a leader in the clean energy revolution and the economic opportunities it provides.”

The Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Act 2023 is the nation’s first legislative framework designed to provide a coordinated approach to the burgeoning hydrogen and renewable energy industries.

“This unique regulatory framework will provide significant opportunities for South Australia to attract and retain high quality investment, confirming us as a global leader in the clean energy transition,” Koutsantonis said.

“We have a unique opportunity ahead, and no time to waste. The Upper Spencer Gulf is home to some of the world’s most prospective wind and solar resources – it could prove the equivalent of finding oil in Saudi Arabia, or striking gold in Victoria.

“But to maximise this opportunity we must get our legislative and regulatory framework right, for the future.”

Unprecedented global interest in investing in and developing South Australian hydrogen and renewable energy requires a fresh legislative framework to maximise opportunities and streamline processes.

The new act helps unlock the state’s pipeline of renewable energy projects, with a current estimated capital development investment of approximately $21 billion, which is expected to grow.

The act streamlines the process for companies wanting to invest in large-scale hydrogen and renewable energy projects in South Australia, bringing issues such as land access, environmental impacts and native title rights into a single regulatory process.

The act also introduces the concept of release areas where developers and investors can compete to access some of the world’s best wind and solar resources on government-owned land, ensuring the most appropriate projects are selected that address the social, economic and environmental needs of the region and the state.

It also ensures extensive community and landholder consultation is carried out, so that hydrogen and renewable energy projects meets communities’ expectations of responsible development.

The government will continue to work with stakeholders and rights holders to establish associated regulations for the Act and to identify the release areas for competitive tender.

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