Energy Security Target

Goal: Create new investment in cleaner energy to increase competition, put downward pressure on prices and provide more energy system stability.

A new target will require energy retailers to get more electricity from cleaner generators that produce their electricity using South Australia’s abundant natural resources. 

In a move to increase South Australia’s energy self-sufficiency, retailers will be compelled to source a percentage of energy from local generators rather than from Victorian coal through the interconnector. 

The energy security target is modelled by Frontier Economics. Similar schemes have worked around the country to lower energy prices and stimulate exploration investment. 

South Australia is rich in energy producing resources, including gas, solar, wind, biomass and graphite, which is used for batteries. 

Analysis by Frontier Economics shows that new investment generated by the energy security target will create more competition and put downward pressure on prices. 

South Australia has advocated for a national Emissions Intensity Scheme (EIS) to incentivise investment in cleaner generation.  

South Australia’s energy security target will transition to an EIS or Lower Emissions Target (LET) if or when national policy changes in the future.


The State Government will defer the start date of the Energy Security Target to 2020.

The Energy Security Target was announced as part of the State Government’s $550 million energy plan in March, to boost energy security and increase local competition by requiring energy retailers to source more power from South Australian generators.

Since announcing the EST a number of significant changes have occurred in the energy market that are delivering system security outcomes in South Australia.

These include recent changes in the National Electricity Market, such as AEMO’s requirement to have at least three synchronous generators operating in South Australia at all times, and announcements by private generators that will bolster synchronous generation capacity in the State.

Additionally, 49 of the 50 recommendations of the Finkel Review are being implemented, many relating to system security. South Australia has joined with other states in tasking the Australian Energy Market Commission to work with AEMO to immediately develop and design the options to implement a Clean Energy Target, after the Commonwealth didn't endorse that recommendation.

Modelling from Frontier Economics also indicates that for the EST to lower power prices it requires the operation of a more competitive energy market. By deferring its introduction to 2020 the EST will be more effective at putting downward pressure on power prices.