It's time to take charge of our energy future
New State-owned Gas Power Plant

Goal: Provide South Australia with a government-owned source of emergency electricity generation.

The State Government will build its own gas-fired electricity generator.

Due to the lack of clear national policy settings, investment in new thermal generation has stalled.

The generator will provide up to 250 megawatts of generation, which can be switched on in times of emergency.

At all times, the generator will make South Australia’s electricity supplies more secure by offering the inertia that is needed to stabilise local supplies.

This generator is a strategic future asset to unlock economic growth once the appropriate national energy policy settings are implemented.

The government will go to tender shortly to have the generator in place as soon as possible.


Temporary energy security measure

In the intervening period, the State Government will work with South Australia’s transmission and distribution companies to provide up to 200 megawatts of temporary generation.

This will provide generation for use over short periods in emergency situations where extreme peaks in demand create a shortfall that cannot be met in other ways.


The State Government has developed a Community Engagement Plan in relation to the temporary location of the emergency back-up generators at the Lonsdale Desalination Plant site and the former General Motors Holden site at Elizabeth, as well as their future relocation to a permanent site.

To view the Community Engagement Plan, please download from the link below:

Testing has been carried out on the generators now they are operating and an updated comprehensive assessment of actual (rather than modelled) noise and air quality impacts from the generators has been completed. A copy of these reports are available for download from the following links:


The State Government has now exercised the option to purchase nine GE TM2500 aero derivative turbines.

The turbines are currently connected to the grid at two temporary locations – the former General Motors Holden site at Elizabeth and the Adelaide Desalination Plant at Lonsdale, where they will operate on diesel for the next two summers.

Now that the option to purchase has been exercised, work will commence on relocating the generators to a permanent location as soon as possible, where they will operate on gas.

The State Government is currently undertaking consultation on a number of permanent sites that meet the requirements of being adjacent to both the gas and electricity transmission networks.

View press release


South Australia now has access to an additional 276 MW of electricity generation, with the State’s new temporary generators installed in time for the warmer summer months. The new GE TM2500 aero derivative turbines have been connected to the grid at two locations – the former General Motors Holden site at Elizabeth and the Adelaide Desalination Plant at Lonsdale.

Testing and commissioning of the temporary generators was successfully completed during October and November 2017.

For more information about temporary generators, please download our project factsheet: 


Since the announcement of the preferred approach for the development of a State owned back up power plant in August, works to construct nine temporary generators at the General Motors Holden site in Elizabeth and adjacent to the Desalination Plant in Lonsdale have progressed significantly. The project is on schedule for completion by December 2017.

Testing and commissioning of the temporary generators will be undertaken throughout October 2017. Testing will involve switching on the units one at a time. Once operational, the units will be tested one at a time, once a month during the day for less than 30 minutes each.

For more information about testing and commissioning works and what this means for surrounding properties please download our project factsheet:

A comprehensive assessment of potential noise and air quality impacts from the temporary generators has been carried out. A copy of these reports is available for download from the following links:


The long-term back-up electricity power plant will be installed ahead of summer, delivering greater capacity than originally planned, as part of the Government’s plan for South Australia to take charge of its energy future.

Rather than just procuring temporary generators, the Government will purchase nine new GE TM2500 aero derivative turbines through APR Energy, providing up to 276 MW of generation to the grid when required.

The hybrid turbine power plant will initially be installed at two locations, the Adelaide Desalination Plant at Lonsdale and at the General Motors Holden site at Elizabeth, operating on diesel fuel over the next two summers, before being relocated to a permanent location as a State-owned power plant operating on gas.

The State-owned power plant will be able to generate more power than the 250MW originally outlined in the energy plan.

While operating on diesel at the temporary locations the power plant will emit 25 per cent less CO2 per megawatt hour than the former Northern Power Station. Once operating on gas, they will be more efficient than Torrens Island Power Station.

GE’s TM2500 units are cleaner and quieter than competitors in the market including diesel reciprocating engines, producing up to 94 per cent lower nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions, significantly less particulate matter and up to 20 per cent less noise.

The power plant will be tested monthly and only dispatched to the grid when required to prevent an electricity supply shortfall.

The costs will be met within the overall $550 million budget of the energy plan. The power plant is being supplied by APR Energy following a competitive tendering process conducted by SA Power Networks and have a lifespan of about 25 years.


On February 8 2017, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) chose to switch off power to South Australians rather than switch on available generators. The event demonstrated that South Australians could no longer rely on the privatised national market.

The State Government responded, announcing a plan to put downward pressure on power prices and improve grid security. The implementation of the energy plan is on track, with several key measures already implemented or underway.

The State Government has introduced new powers to direct available generators to turn on at short notice in emergency situations, and Tesla and Neoen will construct the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in SA.

The battery will operate at all times providing stability services to the grid, which both Tesla and Neoen have said will lower power prices for South Australians.