South Australia has developed into a global hub for renewable energy and has attracted a string of big-ticket projects and names including SolarReserve, Neoen, Elon Musk of Tesla, Carnegie, Sanjeev Gupta and Ross Garnaut of Zen Energy and more recently German battery maker Sonnen.
The recent announcement by Sonnen to build a battery manufacturing plant in Adelaide has been well received. The plant would deliver hundreds of jobs while generating 10,000 systems annually for markets in Australia and the Asia-Pacific.
The plan is to develop the manufacturing facility within six to nine months, says Chris Parratt who heads up Australian operations and is looking at the best location in South Australia for the battery plant and a national office.
Premier Jay Weatherill describes the Sonnen factory as a coup, and one that is clearly in line with his vision for renewable energy.
The prospect of hundreds more jobs in a state that is now lifting employment levels is a big plus.
“[Sonnen is] leading to the jobs of the future,” he said.
The news coincided with the announcement to waive stamp duty on the purchase of new EVs or zero-emission vehicles and provide free registration for five years should Labor be re-elected.
It’s been hailed a smart move designed to encourage the uptake of environmentally-friendly vehicles.
The EV incentives are part of the Weatherill government’s commitment to decarbonise the transport industry and supports Adelaide’s aim to become the world’s first carbon-neutral city.
Under the proposed incentives, South Australians who purchase a $40,000 electric vehicle would save up to $2155 over five years in stamp duty and registration.
Announcing the proposal, SA Environment Minister Ian Hunter said “Our natural environment is our state’s most important ongoing asset, and Labor is committed to protecting our ‘clean and green’ reputation so that South Australia remains a great place to live.
“Driving an electric vehicle is a good environmental choice, and with Labor’s new incentives, it also makes good financial sense.
“Minimising our pollution and greenhouse gas emissions is an environmental imperative. If we can encourage more South Australians to drive cars that have a low impact on our environment, our state will continue to be a world leader when it comes to taking strong steps to combat climate change and its impacts.”
Transport emissions in Adelaide contribute about 35 per cent of total emissions, 90 per cent of which are from private passenger cars.
The party will also continue to lobby the federal government to remove the tariff barriers that currently apply to electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, to encourage more people to switch to these types of vehicles.
There are now more than 100 EV charging points across the state, including almost 50 Tesla charging stations.
Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari said the latest announcement demonstrates South Australia’s leadership in shaping the future of Australian industry.
“Electric vehicles are the future of the transport industry and it’s clear by the announcement that the SA Labor government understands the opportunity that presents.
“By encouraging the initial market for electric vehicles, South Australia puts itself in the driver’s seat to attract investment and create new jobs.
“South Australians will see an immediate benefit in driving cars that are much cheaper to run, bringing down the cost of dropping the kids off at school and getting to work.
“This is a wakeup call for all governments across Australia — it’s time to take meaningful action on electric vehicles.”