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The State of South Australia

Name
The State of South Australia
Population
1.7 million
GDP
AUS$90 Billion
Country
Australia
The State of South Australia

Overview

GHG emissions (year): 29.25 Mt. For more info on the economic and political context, see below.

South Australia is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It is one of six states and two territories in Australia. The state has 1.7 million people - the fifth largest population of the states in Australia. Adelaide is the capital city.

The South Australian economy is traditionally based on manufacturing, agriculture (food and wine) and minerals and resources. The state is actively building on traditional strengths and committed to renewed economic strategic priorities in a changing global economy.

This includes creation of new jobs and business activity in areas such as advanced manufacturing, research and development, clean tech and service based sectors.

Much of the region is arid and vulnerable to changes in temperature and rainfall that is projected be brought on by climate change. Three quarters of South Australia’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are derived from the energy sector (including electricity generation, transport fuels and gas consumption). The state generates its electricity through three main sources – gas, wind, coal and solar – which have 37%, 34%, 21% and 7% shares of the power sector generation mix respectively. Coal generation assets in South Australia will be retired in 2016.

South Australia has 35% of Australia’s wind generation capacity and one in four households have rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. Renewable energy generation within the state continues to grow, underpinned by a 50% renewable energy generation target by 2025.

The Government has taken a leading role on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and is a co-chair of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance. It is also a participant in the Compact of States and Regions, requiring it to report on its targets and progress through the NAZCA Portal.

Since Australia signed the Kyoto agreement in 2007, South Australia adopted the first phase commitment target to restrict emissions to within 108% of 1990 levels as a state target (2008-2012). This target was achieved. A long-term target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% from 1990 levels by 2050 has been established under the Climate Change and Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Act 2007.

These targets are set out alongside strategies to achieve them in South Australia’s Greenhouse Strategy 2007-2020. This strategy focuses on climate change adaptation and policies to encourage innovation in clean technology. South Australia is currently developing a new Climate Change Strategy in consultation with the community that will be released by the end of 2015.

Statutory progress reviews on these targets and objects of the Act are conducted every two years, including reporting on progress by the Minister for Climate Change in the State Parliament.

The state government has negotiated a set of formal cooperative agreements between itself and a range of organizations to engage them in helping to tackle climate change. These organizations include industries, community groups, business entities and regional communities.

Current Activities

South Australia is a leader in addressing climate change. The South Australian Government is continuing to work with industries and the community to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and take action to adapt to the effects of climate change.

Carbon Neutral Adelaide

The South Australian Government has committed to making the City of Adelaide the world’s first carbon neutral city. The initiative is designed to drive further emissions reductions, increase the demand for renewable energy, build the state’s green industries, increase resource efficiency, improve waste management and facilitate the transition to cleaner transport modes. 

As a first step, the South Australian Government has matched funding by the Adelaide City Council, to establish the Sustainable City Incentives Scheme. The scheme provides up to $5000 in incentives to businesses, schools, residents and community and sporting organizations for the installation of solar photovoltaics (PV), battery storage systems, energy efficient lighting and electric vehicle charging points.

Energy efficiency

To encourage improvements of energy efficiency in the buildings sector, the South Australian Government has introduced a number of initiatives.

A target has been established to improve the energy efficiency of government buildings by 30% by 2020. In relation to this target, as of 30 June 2014, the South Australian Government had achieved close to a 24% overall energy efficiency improvement compared to the baseline 2000-01 year. The target is on track to be achieved.

South Australia introduced a Residential Energy Efficiency Scheme in 2009, requiring electricity retailers to meet energy efficiency targets with domestic households (with a particular focus on assisting low income and vulnerable members of the community). A total of 32,460 REES energy audits and 1,827,068 tonnes of greenhouse gas reductions were delivered under REES between 2009 and 2014. A total of 245,087 households received REES activities or energy audits over this period. The scheme has now expanded into its second phase as the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme, which now also includes small and medium businesses.

In addition, a number of regulations and standards are in place to improve energy efficiency in the building sector. This includes mandated installation of efficient hot water systems (solar, gas and heat pumps) and minimum performance standards for air conditioners sold within the state. All new residential dwellings are required to meet a six star energy efficiency rating in the building code.

To overcome barriers to investment in improving the energy, water or environmental performance of existing commercial buildings, the South Australian Government has committed to the implementation of Building Upgrade Finance in South Australia. Building Upgrade Finance is a mechanism which helps building owners to access loans to undertake capital upgrades and addresses the split incentive between landlords and tenants in leased buildings. The mechanism thereby helps to unlock investment in building retrofits and realize the associated economic and environmental benefits.

Renewable energy

South Australia is leading Australia in the uptake of renewable energy. Renewable energy generation in South Australia has grown from virtually zero in 2003 to approximately 41% today, hitting the 2020 target of 33% six years early. This target was increased in 2014 to 50% of electricity generation by 2025.

In 2012 in South Australia, wind generation overtook coal for the first time to become the second most common fuel source for electricity generation after gas.

South Australia has 35% of Australia’s operating wind farm capacity and is a leader in the uptake of solar energy, with one in four households investing in roof top solar panels. This rise in uptake of solar PV is in part attributable to the successful introduction of a premium solar feed-in tariff, the first in Australia, which closed in September 2013.

These initiatives have had significant economic benefits and contribute to the South Australian Government’s target of achieving $10 billion investment in low carbon energy generation by 2025. To date, $6.6 billion has been invested with 40% invested in regional areas in South Australia. 

Clean transport

South Australia’s Low Emission Vehicle Strategy (LEVS) was released in June 2012 which is designed to capture the opportunities offered by new vehicle technologies to both the South Australian automotive sector and the community, and complement investment in public transport infrastructure.

The LEVS sets a target of 10% reduction in emissions intensity per km for the South Australian Government’s light vehicle fleet by 2014/15 (based on 2009/10 levels). This has included a trial of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the state vehicle fleet. This target is on track to be met.

The entire Adelaide metropolitan bus fleet is powered by lower emission alternative fuels. This currently comprises 21% of buses running on compressed natural gas (CNG) and 79% running on biodiesel blended fuel. A trial of diesel/electric hybrid buses is currently underway (improving the fuel efficiency of these bus vehicles by 20-30%).

Electrification of one rail line (Seaford) has been undertaken and will be extended to the remainder of the metropolitan rail network. Electrification reduces emissions associated with operation of trains, as railcars use electricity from the grid, which is generated by 41% renewable energy.

Another aim of the LEVS is to increase in the number of hybrid electric and plug-in electric vehicles in the state. The South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure has supported this initiative by issuing grants, increasing the public network of electric vehicle charging stations. The Sustainable City Incentives Scheme also provides up to $500 for the installation of an electric vehicle charging controller by businesses and residents within the City of Adelaide.

Waste management

The South Australian Strategic Plan has a target to reduce waste to landfill by 35% by 2020. Zero Waste SA was set up to reduce waste to the landfill by 25% by 2014, one of the 

South Australia’s recycling efforts are among the world’s best – and the state now achieves a resource recovery rate of close to 80% in 2013-14. South Australia has achieved a 27% reduction of waste to landfill since 2002-03.

South Australia’s Waste Strategy 2015-2020 sets targets to divert 90% of metropolitan construction and demolition waste, 80% of metropolitan commercial and industrial waste and 70% of metropolitan household kerbside waste by 2020.

Waste reduction and resource efficiency is an important area of focus in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in South Australia. A successful initiative in this sector has been the establishment of Zero Waste SA. The agency has invested over $83 million on innovative, effective and well-targeted projects, helping councils, businesses and the community to reduce, recover, reuse and recycle.

Over 25% of Adelaide’s metropolitan sewer waste water is collected, treated and recycled. A wastewater pipe network extends into the city to irrigate the Adelaide Park Lands, as well as market gardens to the north of the city and wine growing regions to the south for irrigation. 

Adaptation

In August 2012, the South Australian Government released Prospering in a Changing Climate: A Climate Change Adaptation Framework for South Australia.

The South Australian Government has committed to delivering regional climate change adaptation plans in all 12 state government regions by 2016. Founded on collaboration, the approach is a partnership between local communities and decision-makers, local and state government and the private sector.  

The formation of these plans is an important first step that is assisting regions to identify key climate change impacts and vulnerabilities (within various sectors) and enable prioritisation of actions.

Adaptation planning has commenced in all 12 state government regions, with five climate change adaptation plans completed, and the remaining plans to be completed by the end of 2016.

The state’s collaborative approach to adaptation planning and individual regional adaptation plans have won state and national awards, including the 2013 National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility’s Adaptation Champions Award and the 2013 Resilient Australia National Award.

International collaboration

South Australia is the longest standing Co-chair and a founding member of The Climate Group’s States and Regions Alliance.  South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has been a Co-Chair of the Alliance since 2012.

In April 2015, South Australia became the first Australian state where a state government and the capital city council have both signed key international agreements on climate change, with the signing of the Compact of States and Regions and the Compact of Mayors. These Compacts commit the South Australian Government and Adelaide City Council to report on targets and emissions reduction progress annually, at an international level. In May 2015, the SA Government submitted its first report under the Compact of States and Regions. 

The South Australian Premier, Minister for Climate Change and Chair of the Premier’s Climate Change Council will attend the twenty-first session of the Conference of Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015. This provides an important opportunity to collaborate with sub-national jurisdictions and other non-state actors to contribute toward the global effort and progress to address climate change. 

South Australia is a co-chair of The Climate Group’s international States and Regions Alliance.

More info

Most important economic sectors

Key: agriculture and viticulture, forestry and fishing, manufacturing, construction, financial and insurance services.

Growth: renewable energy, advanced manufacturing, tourism, research and development, and tertiary education.

GHG breakdown by sector (%):

Energy (with interstate electricity imports) 75%
Industrial processes 13%
Agriculture 19%
Waste 3%
Land use, change and forestry -10%

The Australian Department of the Environment reports South Australia’s net greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions associated with electricity imports, and emissions from Land Use, Land Use Planning and Forestry (LULUCF) were 29.25 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2e in 2012/13. Net emissions were 9% below 1989/90 levels during the same period.

Current power sector mix (%):

Coal 21%
Gas 37%
Nuclear n/a
Wind 34%

Solar

7%

Biomass

n/a

Marine

n/a

Other

1%
^Coal generation assets in South Australia will retire in 2016.
The above refers to the mix of electricity generation within the state and does not include the electricity imported into the region which is predominantly sourced from coal. South Australia's electricity grid is interconnected to the state of Victoria and, from there to the rest of Australia's National Electricity Market. The volume of electricity imported and exported is determined by a range of factors and varies over time. In 2013-14 South Australia imported an estimated 12% of the electricity consumed. 
South Australia has the lowest greenhouse gas grid electricity intensity profile out of all mainland states and territories in Australia (including electricity imports). The Scope 2 emissions factor in 2013-14 was 0.61 kg CO2e per Kilowatt hour (KWh), compared to the national average of 0.85 kg CO2e per KWh.
In August 2012, the South Australian Government released Prospering in a Changing Climate: A Climate Change Adaptation Framework for South Australia.

The South Australian Government has committed to delivering regional climate change adaptation plans in all 12 state government regions by 2016. Founded on collaboration, the approach is a partnership between local communities and decision-makers, local and state government and the private sector. 

The formation of these plans is an important first step that is assisting regions to identify key climate change impacts and vulnerabilities (within various sectors) and enable prioritisation of actions.

Adaptation planning has commenced in all 12 state government regions, with five climate change adaptation plans completed, and the remaining plans to be completed by the end of 2016.

 

The state’s collaborative approach to adaptation planning and individual regional adaptation plans have won state and national awards, including the 2013 National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility’s Adaptation Champions Award and the 2013 Resilient Australia National Award.

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