Energy plan action needed

EYRE Peninsula community leaders have welcomed the Essential Services Commission's final report but say it needs to be backed up with action.

The commission’s inquiry into the reliability of electricity supply in the region found the most cost-effective short-term option for improving reliability was installing diesel generators at Yadnarie, near Cleve, Streaky Bay and Ceduna.

Tumby Bay District Council mayor Sam Telfer said the report showed the need for action on the electricity issue.

“It certainly highlights a lot of the questions around electricity supply, and hopefully some answers will flow out of it,” he said.

“But it’s going to take a lot of political will to improve the EP electricity issue, so we don’t continue to have major outages.”

Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula chief executive officer Dion Dorward said action rather than discussion was needed.

“It’s a good report but we’ve had enough reports, we want reliable and affordable energy for the region,” he said.

“If the report helps us get there, fine, but at the moment it’s not just another paper.”

The report’s long-term options for improving reliability depended on future electricity demand and whether or not the Iron Road mining project proceeded.

Mr Dorward said that was concerning and showed Eyre Peninsula was “to a large degree” still on its own. 

“There won’t be any significant change to the network unless Iron Road proceeds and I think that’s really poor,” he said. 

“Iron Road is such a massive potential energy consumer.”

He said the project’s electricity usage would be equivalent to a quarter of the state’s annual consumption with Iron Road planning to use electrical conveyor belts to move ore instead of diesel dump trucks.

“But even if the company finds a solution to the energy issue, there’s no guarantee it will be shared with the region, unless there’s integrated planning to ensure that’s the case.”