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Upper Spencer Gulf Renewables Focus at State Conference

Brett Benbow

The transformation of the Upper Spencer Gulf as a renewable energy powerhouse has taken centre stage, with a major conference in Adelaide dedicated to the region.

The “Spencer Gulf Renewable Energy Conference” featured presentations from renewable energy companies, market analysts, the Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla Councils and the South Australian Government.

Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin said the Upper Spencer Gulf has much to offer and is excited about the future.

“As a region reliant on energy-intensive enterprise such as steel manufacturing, lead and metal smelting and mining, the Upper Spencer Gulf becomes more and more attractive as the price of renewable energy falls and reliability improves”, explained Mayor McLaughlin.

“We have huge potential with a wide range of technologies - pumped hydro, solar thermal, solar photo-voltaic, ‘big’ batteries, wind and hydrogen.”

While Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow said while there are positives, there also needs to be much stronger local input and control over renewable energy development.

“We want to develop a really strong local workforce in this industry and gain the benefit of having the education, training and research opportunities also delivered locally, through initiatives like our Uni Hub”, said Mayor Benbow.

“[But] at the moment local Councils often have a limited role as many renewable energy development approvals are taken out of our hands and dealt with directly by the State Government.”

The Spencer Gulf Cities have also joined the call from many neighbouring Councils in the Mid North, who want the South Australian Government to amend legislation and allow Councils to collect rates from renewable energy companies.

Photo: Supplied - Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow at the Spencer Gulf Renewable Energy Conference in Adelaide