EYRE Peninsula residents have welcomed the Essential Services Commission of SA's final report from an inquiry into the reliability of electricity supply in the region, but also say it needs to be backed up with action.
The inquiry found that the most cost-effective short-term option for improving reliability was installing diesel generators at Yadnarie, near Cleve, Streaky Bay and Ceduna.
District Council of Ceduna mayor Allan Suter said outages were an ongoing issue in the far west region.
“Our need for a generator is evident, we’re at the end of a long line so we put up with more outages than most,” he said.
“When the power goes out we often lose our phone services as well, which puts people at risk, so having a generator just makes so much sense.”
District Council of Tumby Bay mayor Samuel 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 says long-term options for improving reliability depended on future electricity demand on the EP, which was heavily dependent on whether or not the Iron Road mining project proceeded.
If Iron Road goes ahead, the EP’s electricity infrastructure would need to be augmented to support the higher demand, which would largely be funded by Iron Road.
But if Iron Road does proceed, ElectraNet would at least have to replace the existing Cultana to Port Lincoln transmission line, which is at the end of its useful life.
Mr Dorward said it was concerning that a long-term solution hinged on the Iron Road project proceeding.
“What is shows is that, to a large degree, we’re on our own still,” he said.
“There won’t be any significant change to the network unless Iron Road proceeds and I think that’s really poor.
“Iron Road is such a massive potential energy consumer. Instead of using diesel dump trucks in the mine, they plan to use electrical conveyor belts to move ore to processing. The project’s electricity usage would be equivalent to a quarter of the state’s annual consumption.
“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.”